Manchester United are reportedly ready to activate the £44 million release clause in Elseid Hysaj’s contract to land the Napoli star in the summer.
According to The Sun, Manchester United are already laying down the succession plan for Antonio Valencia. The Red Devils are eyeing a summer move for Napoli star Elseid Hysaj and are even ready to meet the £44 million release clause embedded in his contract to land the defender in the summer.
Elseid Hysaj joined Napoli from fellow Italian side Empoli in the summer of 2015. The right-back has since managed to establish a place for himself as a regular within the first-team setup and has been instrumental to their title challenge, where they were only narrowly pipped by Juventus this season.
Unlike other renowned right-backs, Hysaj is a bit more defensive in his mindset, with marking, positioning and tackling his strong points. But, the Albanian is also a natural when it comes to marauding up and down the pitch, which has seen him silently earn praise for his performances.
At Manchester United, Antonio Valencia is no more a converted right-back. The Ecuadorian has become a natural and one of the most feared right-backs in not just the Premier League but also Europe, to the extent that Real Madrid had been looking at the player to reinforce the right side of their defence a couple of years ago.
Now 33 though, Valencia needs a deputy and perhaps someone, who can take over the reins on the right. Even though Hysaj is not a like-for-like replacement, the 24-year-old could perhaps be an even better choice compared to the other right-backs Manchester United have been linked with.
Jose Mourinho is far from happy from United’s defensive unit and Hysaj’s defensive acumen could aid the manager’s aim of making the defence robust, despite recording 19 clean sheets throughout the season. Also, with Maurizio Sarri tipped to leave Napoli, there could be a summer exodus at Partonepei, which makes Hysaj more accessible and a realistic target compared to others.
One thing that may cause a problem though, is Manchester United’s current situation at right-wing. With Valencia marauding up and down, the Ecuadorian more than makes up for the lack of a good right-sided winger in the squad.
Although Hysaj can do the same, he is not as effective on the attacking front, which means United will have to reinforce the right wing if they were to go after the Albanian defender as their choice of right-back.
Also, there’s no guarantee that the 24-year-old cannot adapt to surroundings and perhaps improve on his attacking output after joining Manchester United. The Red Devils though, are looking to activate the £44 million release clause in Hysaj’s contract to bring him to Old Trafford in the summer.
The fee, although steep, could be justified by the fact that the player is just 24 and has more than three years left on his Napoli contract. Combined with the current situation of the transfer market and the £44 million seems more than fair for a player of Hysaj’s calibre.
United though, could look towards options closer to home first, with Hector Bellerin tipped to be a player Manchester United are interested in and are pondering upon whether to make a move for the Spaniard in the summer.
Hysaj’s transfer is dependent more on Manchester United’s priority list and whether Jose Mourinho sees the 24-year-old as the ideal man to replace Antonio Valencia.