Man United have finally got their much-needed midfield acquisition.
The last time Manchester United announced a new signing from Real Madrid, they went on to thump fierce rivals Leeds 5-1 on the opening day of last season.
On Monday history repeated itself as new addition Casemiro was unveiled to the Old Trafford crowd before the Red Devils got the better of Liverpool by two goals to one. United scored its maiden win of the season and a first over their north-west foes since March 2018.
United completed the signing of Casemiro for an initial fee of £60million with £10million in add-ons and the player has agreed a deal until 2026 with the option for a further year.
Upon signing in M16, Casemiro said: “Everybody knows the history of Manchester United, the significance of the club around the world and what it means to its supporters. To represent United is an honour and I am ready to give everything to help the team achieve our ambitions.”
Casemiro completed his medical checks on Sunday and the transfer officially went through on Monday following the obtainment of a visa. The signing was not finalised in time for Casemiro to be involved against Liverpool but he did watch on from a director's box on Monday evening and he could feature in United’s next outing at Southampton on Saturday.
72 hours after initial reports linked United with a fanciful move for Casemiro, a deal was agreed to take the 30-year-old from Madrid to Manchester. This came exactly 100 days after United had made initial contact with Barcelona regarding the availability of Frenkie de Jong.
Prior to speculation surrounding Casemiro last week United pulled out of a deal to sign Adrien Rabiot from Juventus, citing exorbitant salary demands from the player’s mother and agent, Veronique.
For a number of years the midfield has been a problem area of huge significance and, after an unrelenting saga involving De Jong, Erik ten Hag has eventually filled a crucial piece of the United jigsaw. Casemiro is of a different profile to De Jong but could prove equally important in transforming United’s play in possession and more so off the ball.
An up-front fee of £60m can be classed as favourable for a five-time Champions League winner who had three years left on his contract at the Santiago Bernabéu. A regular starter for Brazil, Casemiro has earned 63 caps for his country and he brings bucket loads of experience at the highest level.
Casemiro leaves Real after almost a decade in the Spanish capital and he reunites with former teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane after the trio celebrated four Champions League titles together at Los Blancos.
For a number of years United have been desperate for a world-class midfield enforcer to counteract the likes of Rodri and Fabinho, and after much anticipation they finally have their man.
Rodri was 23 when Man City activated his £63m release clause in 2019 meanwhile Fabinho, 25 at the time, cost Liverpool £43m on arrival from Monaco one year earlier. Although he is already into his 31st year, Casemiro boasts greater experience than the other two did upon their big-money moves to the Premier League.
With just over a week remaining of the summer transfer window, Ten Hag could still look to add another midfielder to his ranks in addition to a right-back, at least one forward and a backup goalkeeper.
United continue to pursue players familiar with the Eredivisie and they are believed to be keeping tabs on both Cody Gakpo and Antony. The latter was omitted from Ajax’s playing squad at the weekend as he tries to force a reunion with Ten Hag, but the Dutch champions are holding out for a fee in the region of £76million (€90m).
The Brazilian international is a left-footed, right-sided winger and he would add balance to United’s lopsided attack. Meanwhile, Gakpo could be available for half the price of Antony albeit his favoured position is on the left flank, where both Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford tend to operate at their best.
Any move for Gakpo, 23, would hinge on PSV’s progress in the UEFA Champions League. Ruud van Nistelrooy’s team host Rangers for their playoff return leg on Wednesday, with the tie locked at 2-2 after the first leg in Glasgow last week.
In regards to outgoings, United are struggling to offload fringe players who don’t feature in Ten Hag’s plans. Eric Bailly is close to completing a loan move to Marseille and there was also reported interest from José Mourinho’s Roma. Marseille have option to buy the Ivorian defender and this would become mandatory if the French club qualify for next season's Champions League.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka could re-join Crystal Palace on loan, three years after he left Selhurst Park for £50m. United are also reportedly open to selling James Garner with a handful of Premier League clubs alerted to his situation. The 21-year-old midfielder spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest and has made just seven first-team appearances for United since earning his senior debut in October 2019.
Phil Jones has enjoyed five outings for the senior team since the start of the 2020/21 season, while Axel Tuanzebe made a total 13 appearances across two disastrous loan spells last term. Both players could find themselves new clubs closer to the August 31st deadline.
United’s woes in player sales continue to hold back the club in the market and up until this point the only senior player to have left Old Trafford on a permanent deal this summer is Andreas Pereira, who joined Fulham for £10m.