Manchester United closely following RB Leipzig star with €70m release clause

RB Leipzig v SV Darmstadt 98 - Bundesliga
RB Leipzig v SV Darmstadt 98 - Bundesliga / Maja Hitij/GettyImages

According to a report from French outlet Foot Mercato, Manchester United are keeping tabs on RB Leipzig defender Castello Lukeba.

After how the Red Devils have faced an injury crisis in defence this season, it is clear they need to shore up their backline this summer. The club are set to lose experienced campaigner Raphael Varane on a free transfer in June, whilst Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his team must decide which of the current crop of central defenders they want to keep given how injury prone they have been as well as being mediocre for majority of the season.

Manchester United’s defensive frailties almost eliminated them from the FA Cup on Sunday. It seems like the club’s hierarchy have noticed the glaring holes in Erik ten Hag’s defence and are planning to do everything possible to address them.

Foot Mercato claims the Red Devils have been monitoring Castello Lukeba for weeks. However, they aren’t the only interested party, with Chelsea also admirers of the RB Leipzig defender’s talents.

Lukeba, 21, moved to RB Leipzig from Lyon last summer and has seamlessly replaced Josko Gvardiol at the back, making 28 Bundesliga appearances thus far. The Frenchman has attracted suitors with his physicality, reading of the game and composure on the ball. The report adds the 21-year-old has a €70m release clause in his contract which only becomes valid from 2025, and Leipzig have no intention to sell the defender after just one season.

Red Devil Armada’s verdict:

Castello Lukeba is a real athlete with an impressive turn of pace and long leap, making him a real asset in both boxes despite being just 6.0 ft tall. He has enjoyed a strong debut season in the Bundesliga and possesses the required qualities to excel in the Premier League as well.

The Frenchman is exactly the kind of profile Man United could very well do with in defence. Given the apparent need for a centre-back before the start of the 2024/25 campaign, we must splash the cash on Lukeba to address one of the most glaring holes in the current squad.