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Man United round-up: daily Old Trafford digest... Casemiro, João Félix, Old Trafford take-over, Glazer family...

Manchester United confirmed an agreement in principle for Casemiro, who is set to join in a 72M euro deal from Real Madrid.

Casemiro celebra una victoria como jugador del Real Madrid.

The rumours surrounding Manchester United’s interest in Casemiro began circulating on Wednesday and events escalated on Friday with the club agreeing, in principle, a €72 million fee for the Brazilian plus a further €13 million in add-ons. United get to shore up their midfield with one of the most experienced and decorated defensive midfielders in the game while Madrid also benefit from the operation - raking in over ten times what they paid for Casemiro when they signed him, initially for the B team, Castilla in January 2013.

The 30-year-old has won every major honour at club level with Madrid. He’s known for being a physical, tough defensive midfielder but that’s not the only attribute to his game - Casemiro can also score goals, as he has shown since he first arrived in Madrid. Rafa Benítez included him in the senior squad for the pre-season in 2015, giving him several run-outs that summer. He possesses a powerful shot and is strong in the air - he scored the opener in the 2017 UEFA Super Cup final against United, which Madrid won 2-1.

Casemiro bid Real Madrid farewell on Friday with a message posted on Twitter: “What I experienced in Madrid was the most wonderful story I could ever have imagined. I hope to return one day to the place which will always be my home. Not in a million years could I ever repay Real Madrid and the fans for all that you have given me. Forever… Hala Madrid!”

Casemiro might not the last new arrival at the club before the market closes on 1 September. United are also looking at completing the transfer of another Brazilian - Ajax winger Antony...

Here’s a round-up of the latest news and developments

What shirt number could Casemiro be given at United?

Casemiro initially was designated the No.38 shirt when he first arrived in the Spanish capital during the 2013 January transfer window. He kept that number for his first six months with Castilla, Real Madrid’s second team. With the first team, he wore the No.16 on his debut but took the No.14 when Madrid decided to recover him from Porto in 2015 - that’s the squad number he wore for the rest of his time at the club, although with Brazil, he wears the No.5.

Unfortunately for Case, summer signing Christian Eriksen has claimed the No.14 after Jesse Lingard joined Nottingham Forest. Playing as a ‘6′ qualifies Casemiro to wear the No.6, however, defender Lisandro Martínez has taken that shirt at Old Trafford - a number Casemiro wore for Porto during his spell with the Portuguese giants.

Number 15 became available when Andreas Pereira left to join newly-promoted side Fulham this summer. Club legend Nemanja Vidic wore No.15 for United from 2006 until 2014 and it could be Casemiro’s preferred option as it’s his number with Brazil.

Other numbers available to Casemiro at United include 13, 18, 21, 24 and 30. The number 21 is free and hypothetically could be the number that Frenkie de Jong would take, although it is looking unlikely that we will see the Dutchman in a United shirt anytime soon.

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How United could line up with Casemiro

Erik ten Hag wanted a leader for his new project at Manchester United, and Casemiro could just be the man he was looking for - a proven winner is he without any doubt.

What Casemiro could do to United midfield

After seven years and five Champions League titles with Real Madrid, the defensive midfielder would make a leap in quality to the midfield of the Mancunian team, one which has experienced its worst start in the last 30 years. The arrival of the 30-year old would have the Red Devils hoping to gain in both character and leadership, two qualities that have been missing at Old Trafford in recent years despite the big names and huge fees paid out in that time. After last season, when United failed to qualify for UEFA’s top competition, rumours began circling about some of the team’s mainstays, including Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo. Convincing the effective midfielder to step away from football’s top table could change the mood.

So, with the deal seemingly being finalised, attention has turned to how this could change the first choice XI. Doubts over Maguire could see the captain’s armband switched to David de Gea, although the Spanish goalkeeper is not going through his best time of it either and Ten Hag has suggested that he’s happy to continue with his defender for the time being. However, with the opening season defeats against Brighton and Brentford, Varane may be bumped up the pecking order to link up with his former team mate again, and the Englishman may be the one to lose out.

Either way, the incorporation of Casemiro would serve to improve the Red Devils’ work without the ball, for whom it is proving very difficult to maintain a measured level of pressure. In that sense, the Brazilian holder could order United’s defensive lines, being used to playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation, allowing more freedom for the creative players ahead of him.

And despite the fact that in Madrid he was not used to playing as a double pivot, Casemiro often does it with Brazil, and on top of that with Fred by his side. In this way, the EPL side could recreate that duo, with the burden of defensive work falling to Casemiro. This is something that United fans have been screaming for, convinced that the Fred-McTominay pairing was never going to pay off.

Eriksen, Fernandes, Sancho, Ronaldo...

Despite the surprising aspect of the signing, Casemiro’s move would almost certainly guarantee an immediate uplift in performance for Ten Hag. And he really needs it after the start they’ve had. That said, up next is a visit from Liverpool who, having had a couple of poor results themselves, will be looking to get their title challenge back on track at Old Trafford. For that reason, and the time needed to cross T’s and dot I’s, it may be that the Brazilian does not feature.

When he does, the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen can expect to get a new lease of life, in the same way that the likes of Modric and Kroos benefited from their midfield battler-with-style. If the undoubted creative talent of the team can be reignited, the season could be turned on its head.

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Casemiro’s transfer to United in numbers

The key points of the agreement between Real Madrid, Manchester United and Casemiro for the Brazilian player’s proposed move to Old Trafford have been settled. Madrid will accept United’s offer of 72 million euros in one, fixed fee now plus another €13M relating to various different bonuses. Casemiro will see his salary almost double - he will collect close to 20 million before tax per season (around €13M net). That salary is also guaranteed for one more year than what he already had in place in his current contract with Madrid.

Casemiro last renewed with Madrid during the Coronavirus pandemic, extending his previous contract to 2025. Once he passes a medical with United, he will commit to the English club in a deal which will keep him at Old Trafford until 2026 with the possibility of a one-year extension. If he sees out his contract in full, he will conclude his time in Manchester aged 35 years.

Casemiro is set to become the third highest earner in the United squad, behind Cristiano Ronaldo and David de Gea.

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Will Casemiro play for United against Liverpool on Monday?

United welcome arch rivals Liverpool Old Trafford on Monday night with both teams looking for their first win of the season. But Casemiro won’t be directly involved in the biggest game in English football, although he may well be watching in the stands.

Premier League clubs in the top flight have to finalise transfers by midday on the previous working day if they want to field their new signing during that upcoming gameweek and with the move being rubber stamped late on Friday night, the Brazilian and United missed the stipulated deadline.

Casemiro has also yet to undergo his complete medical with United and secure the relevant paperwork/ work permit in order to play in England.

Ajax star Antony (Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)
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Ajax star Antony (Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)Soccrates ImagesGetty

Antony rebels at Ajax, eyeing United move

Ajax winger Antony is another player on Erik ten Hag’s shopping list - a player he knows well and could be the final piece in the jigsaw before deadline day. The 22-year-old Brazilian is aware of United’s interest and apparently keen on a move to Old Trafford. Local media in Holland report that he missed Friday’s session, even though he had reported for duty - possibly a sign that he is trying to force a move away. Antony is valued at €35 million by Transfermarkt although, according to De Telegraaf Ajax rejected a €80 million offer for the player last week.


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