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Man Utd transfer chief Matt Judge eyeing Donny van de Beek replacement amid exit links

Man Utd: Van de Beek backed to succeed by de Boer

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Manchester United chief Matt Judge is preparing to launch a summer bid for Roma playmaker Nicolo Zaniolo, according to reports. The Red Devils already have two attacking midfield options in Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek, but the latter has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford after failing to hold down a spot in the side under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Van de Beek has started just two Premier League matches since joining United from Ajax in pre-season, with Fernandes establishing a stronghold on the No 10 role while the Dutchman has struggled to impress as a defensive midfielder.

The 23-year-old has been tipped to make a quick-fire exit this summer with Borussia Dortmund said to be keen on his services.

Reports have suggested that the Bundesliga club would be happy to sign Van de Beek as part of a potential player-plus-cash deal involving in-demand striker Erling Haaland, who is a prime target for United as well as a number of other top European clubs.

If the Red Devils decide to call time on Van de Beek’s career at Old Trafford, they could seal a cut-price replacement in the form of Zaniolo, according to Italian outlet Il Messagero.

The 21-year-old is being closely watched by United as he continues his recovery from a cruciate knee ligament injury that has kept him on the treatment table all season.

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Zaniolo has been linked with the 20-time Premier League champions since last summer, but a move failed to come to fruition after Roma slapped a £70million asking price on their man.

However, he could now be available for as little as £25.5m as a result of his lengthy fitness issues.

The youngster’s problems started last January when he picked up his serious knee injury during a 2-1 defeat to Juventus.

He made a brief return towards the end of last season but promptly suffered a fresh setback and has not been included in a matchday squad since August.

The Italian midfielder, who is under contract until the summer of 2024, established himself as one of Serie A’s finest young talents prior to his injury with a number of eye-catching performances for Roma both domestically and in Europe.

Zaniolo suggested in April last year that he would not be pushing to leave the club for the foreseeable future, stressing that he is more than happy with his current situation.

“I would love to become a key player for Roma, even if right now it’s not something I can really think about,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“My only aim right now is to get back out there on the pitch and make the fans smile again. We will see what will happen.

“Even if my aim is to stay at Roma a long time, because this team has given me everything and I am in love with this club.”

Zaniolo has made a total of 69 appearances for I Giallorossi since joining from Inter Milan in 2018 for a modest fee of £4m.

Since breaking into the Roma side he has been capped on seven occasions by Italy, with the midfielder scoring twice in a 9-1 thrashing of minnows Armenia in 2019.

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