Man Utd could have three players poached by Saudi clubs including ‘leader’

Casemiro likely to be sidelined until new year

Manchester United could have Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro and Anthony Martial poached by Saudi Arabian clubs next year. And their departures would prove to be a big blow to boss Erik ten Hag, with former Red Devils loanee Marcel Sabitzer recently describing Casemiro as a “leader”.

Since Cristiano Ronaldo quit Old Trafford to sign for Al-Nassr a year ago, Saudi Arabia clubs have splashed the cash to sign a whole host of talented European stars. Aymeric Laporte left Manchester City to join Ronaldo at Al-Nassr in the summer, while Roberto Firmino traded Liverpool for Al-Ahli. And Ruben Neves left Wolves to play for Al-Hilal. Chelsea also allowed some of their stars to head to the Middle East – and United could be the next club to be targeted in the transfer market.

According to 90min, Saudi Pro League clubs are exploring the chances of signing Casemiro and Fernandes, with the Brazilian emerging as one of the league’s primary transfer targets for 2024. And Martial has been of interest to Saudi clubs for some time.

Fernandes is the United captain and has skippered Ten Hag’s side in all of their Premier League and Champions League matches this season. And despite the fact the Portugal international has been criticised at times throughout the campaign, his exit would not be welcomed by Ten Hag. But Casemiro is the man to receive Sabitzer’s praises, with the Borussia Dortmund ace pointing towards the midfielder’s leadership credentials.

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Addressing United’s struggles this season during an interview with The Athletic, Sabitzer said: “You ask yourself, ‘what’s going on?’ There’s a lot of noise, results are not good, they’ve had defeats at home, which almost felt unthinkable last season. And there’s still the unresolved situation of the ownership. You can see what that does to a team.

“I feel sorry for them because they’re all good guys, and extremely hungry for success. Casemiro, Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez – they are leaders that provide structure and stability to the team.

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“If you have too many important players missing and too many changes as a result, things get lost between the tactics board and the pitch. The rhythm of players coming isn’t right, processes aren’t right. In the Premier League and Champions League, you need your best players available. Everything feels a little laboured and uncertain now. They need their big guys to show up and change the course of the season, but I believe things can change quickly once they get important players back.”

On Tuesday, Ten Hag confirmed that Casemiro will be out of action until January after the player sustained a hamstring injury against Newcastle in the Carabao Cup last month. And when the former Real Madrid ace does return to action, Ten Hag will surely be in no mood to sanction a transfer to the Middle East.

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