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Man U ready to ship quartet to Saudi Arabia in £230M deal

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Manchester United football director John Murtough was in Saudia Arabia for transfer talks earlier this month with the club seeking to sell players to raise funds for January signings.

Mail Sport has learned that Murtough held discussions with representatives of the Saudi Pro League in Riyadh, with Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial and Casemiro among the United players available for transfer.

Murtough is understood to have left Saudi Arabia without reaching agreement on any transfers, but established some important new relationships for United and further talks are planned.

After spending over £750million on new signings last summer SPL clubs will not be as active during the January window however, not least as many of the top-flight’s 18 clubs have already filled their overseas player quota, so United may have to wait until the summer to trade with the cash-rich Saudi clubs.

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Off-loading Sancho is United’s priority next month as the England forward has been banished from the first-team since effectively calling Erik Ten Hag a liar after he was dropped from United’s Premier League defeat at Arsenal in September.

Off-loading Jadon Sancho remains a priority for Manchester United but the club is looking forward to building a relationship with Saudi Pro League sides for further sales

United would also listen to any offers made for Varane, Martial and Casemiro, but will not force them out as all three remain important members of Ten Hag’s squad.

United’s need to sell is heightened by their accounting situation as the club are believed to be close to the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules limit.

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A strong indication of the their delicate financial position came last July when they were fined £260,000 by UEFA for what was described as ‘minor break-even deficit’ in the 2022/23 accounting period.

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United continued to spend heavily last summer, with Rasmus Hojlund, Andre Onana and Mason Mount moving to Old Trafford for combined fees of almost £200m in a splurge that they cannot continue next month.

Ten Hag wants to strength at centre-back, in midfield and up front, but may have to rely on loan signings if the club are unable to sell.

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Murtough could be taking charge of his last transfer window at United as Sir Jim Ratcliffe is planning a comprehensive review of their recruitment department after INEOS complete their £1.25billion investment, but he wants to stay at Old Trafford and is planning for the future.

Given the SPL’s sudden emergence as a major player in the transfer market Murtough’s trip was an attempt to build new relationships for future deals.

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