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Newcastle stance puts Man Utd at risk of missing out on a crucial Ten Hag transfer target

Newcastle United have distanced themselves from links to Dean Henderson and don’t plan to sign him this summer, according to reports. The Magpies were thought to be Henderson’s leading suitors, but their withdrawal could deny Manchester United their best chance of raising funds through player sales.

United will back Erik ten Hag in his first summer transfer window as manager but have a limited budget after failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Ten Hag is starting a significant rebuild at Old Trafford and wants to bolster his new squad with a centre-back, central midfielder and striker.

The Dutchman has identified Ajax’s Jurrien Timber as his primary defensive target, while he strongly admires Villarreal’s left-sided centre-back Pau Torres. Timber wouldn’t demand a fee higher than £40million, fitting into United’s summer transfer plans, and Torres currently poses as a backup option.

But the Red Devils are aiming for more marquee arrivals in midfield and attack, with Ten Hag pinpointing Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and Benfica’s Darwin Nunez as leading targets in both areas. Suitors will likely have to chalk out at least £60m for both, which could realistically take up Ten Hag’s entire kitty alone.

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If United are to seal both big-money deals, along with a centre-back recruit, player sales will play a significant role in whether they can splash even more cash this summer. Henderson, still 25, would rake in a sizable fee if he was to leave permanently. But the Telegraph claim mega-rich Newcastle are out of the running.

United are also listening to offers for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones, Brandon Williams and Anthony Martial. But how much each player is valued after a nightmare 2021-22 campaign remains to be seen.

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Ten Hag’s budget will have received a welcome boost from the six stars leaving on free transfers as he comes through the door. Lee Grant, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani’s exits are set to free up almost £1million in wages weekly.

Regardless of how many surplus players United can move on when the summer transfer window opens on June 10, it’s difficult to see more than four new signings arriving ahead of Ten Hag’s maiden campaign. But he will undoubtedly be keen to strengthen his options outside of the spine, particularly at right-back and right-wing.

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