Although it got swept deep under the carpet during Jose Mourinho’s opening press conference at Manchester United, the Portuguese offered a glimpse into the Red Devils’ transfer plans this summer.
The club has four areas, according to Mourinho, to target this off-season, with three of them already secured.
Eric Bailly is in at the heart of defence. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the customary eye-catching purchase up front and, although not officially confirmed yet, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is expected to sign on the dotted line too.
For many, the last part of the four-piece puzzle is a holding midfielder, namely Paris Saint-Germain’s Blaise Matuidi.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Frenchman left his international teammates at Euro 2016 to travel across the channel to finalise a switch to Old Trafford.
PSG have already signed a replacement, with a deal for Polish star Grzegorz Krychowiak agreed this week, so the path for Matuidi to head to Manchester appears clear.
That would bring an end to the Red Devils’ summer business and conclude a remarkably high-profile facelift on a squad that failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League.
Both Matuidi and Ibrahimovic were practically guaranteed title wins and elite European football as part of PSG’s powerhouse, but were seemingly unable to turn down the appeal of Mourinho and Manchester United.
The midfielder’s arrival will certainly push one or more of Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Marouane Fellaini closer to an Old Trafford exit, as the club looks to add more bite to its middle section.
Matuidi has made the most tackles in the French squad at Euro 2016, while also blocking the most passes at his home tournament.
Aside from his defensive nous, he is also an efficient passer. Only Paul Pogba has completed more for Les Bleus at the Euros.
Manchester United are priced at 7/2 to win the Premier League this season and get their challenge underway against Bournemouth on the opening day.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.