The Saudi Pro League has set its sights on Manchester United’s Casemiro as a top transfer target for the 2024 season, with buzz growing about a potential bid for the midfielder come January, reports 90min football.
Casemiro’s transfer to United from Real Madrid in August 2022 came amid a rocky start to Erik ten Hag’s managerial tenure. The Brazilian international quickly proved his worth, becoming a pivotal force in stabilizing the squad and contributing to key victories that led to a top-four Premier League finish, a Carabao Cup victory, and an FA Cup final berth.
Despite his impactful start, Casemiro’s tenure at United has not been without its controversies, particularly given the steep £60m transfer fee plus £10m in possible add-ons, and his substantial £300,000-a-week salary.
United, who are into the second year of Casemiro’s four-year contract—with the option for an additional year—have faced scrutiny over the investment, especially as the player will be 32 come February.
Recently, Casemiro’s performance has come under fire as United has experienced a series of losses, and Ten Hag’s comments post-substitution during a match against Brentford last month have highlighted a perceived need for “more football” from the Brazilian, igniting further debate over his role in the team.
Despite currently nursing an injury, Casemiro remains on the radar of the Saudi Pro League, which is intent on elevating its competitive status by attracting stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. This ambition has placed not just Casemiro but also other United players, including the club’s new captain Bruno Fernandes, on their wishlist, with potential transfer discussions being facilitated through intermediaries.
While United is not proactively marketing Casemiro, the club’s Financial Fair Play considerations might make them receptive to a lucrative bid. Observing the financial windfalls Liverpool and Chelsea have reaped from player sales to the Saudi Pro League, which have aided their squad overhauls, United might see this as an opportune move.
Speculation also swirls around Anthony Martial, who has piqued the interest of Saudi clubs and whose contract expires next summer.
Corporate changes loom at United, with a forthcoming 25% stake acquisition by Sir Jim Ratcliffe expected to shake up the club’s management structure. With Jean-Claude Blanc poised to step in as CEO and Paul Mitchell, with a history at Tottenham, RB Leipzig, and Monaco, in discussions for a sporting director role, United’s approach to transfers is poised for transformation.
This shift is in line with Ratcliffe and INEOS’s commitment to improving club facilities and revising United’s post-Ferguson and Gill transfer strategy.