Belgian footballer Leander Dendoncker has hinted that he could have joined Manchester United in the summer, had Anderlecht been willing to bargain his transfer value. The 22-year-old had been underlined as the initial target to bolster the holding midfield position, but ultimately United spent £40m to land Nemanja Matic from Stamford Bridge.
In an interview with Sport/Foot h/t Metro, Dendoncker spoke of United’s pursuit of his signature and claimed that he would have sealed his transfer, had both clubs reached an agreement, he said: “If it was as concrete as was being said, if they wanted me at all costs, I’d already be there.When you play for Anderlecht and you have the chance to go there, you don’t hesitate, but Anderlecht had their bit to say. Everyone had to agree.”
Anderlecht lost a key midfielder in Youri Tielemans to AS Monaco during the early stage of the summer transfer window, and this increased the valuation of Dendoncker, who had equally impressed during the previous campaign.
A £34m price tag had been placed on the midfielder’s head upon United’s interest, but it appears that Jose Mourinho wasn’t prepared to take an expensive risk on Dendoncker, who has yet to prove his credentials against Europe’s elite.
Nevertheless, United are still monitoring the progress of the young central midfielder with the futures of Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick far from certain beyond next summer.
Carrick has a realistic chance of hanging up his boots at the end of the campaign, while Fellaini has yet to commit his future – with his contract due to expire in eight months’ time.
Herrera looks the most likely to stay put at Old Trafford next season as United have the option of a 12-month extension on his existing deal – which lasts until June 2018.