Manchester United have agreed in principle to sign midfielder Casemiro from Real Madrid for a fee of around £60million.
The Brazil international is set to become the fourth arrival this window after Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.
Casemiro, who had three years left on his contract with Madrid, brings plenty of quality and experience to Erik ten Hag’s midfield after racking up more than 300 appearances during nine trophy-filled years at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Indeed, the 30-year-old won five Champions Leagues with Los Blancos – scoring against Juventus in the 2017 final – as well as four LaLiga titles and three Club World Cups.
Casemiro struggled to find a regular spot after moving to Madrid from Sao Paulo in 2013; spend the 2014-15 season on loan with Portuguese giants Porto.
However, he hasn’t looked back after cementing his place in the starting line-up in the 2015-16 campaign, with no midfielder having won more tackles in La Liga since then (415).
The Brazilian also made 368 interceptions over the past seven seasons – with Dani Garcia (399) the only midfielder to improve on that tally – while Dani Parejo (1,666) and Sergio Busquets (1,504) were the only players in his position to gain possession on more chances than him (1,462).
Ten Hag has been keen to bolster his midfield ranks since taking charge at Old Trafford, with Eriksen’s arrival being the first piece of that jigsaw.
But overall it has been a window of frustration for United, who have spent the majority of the last few months chasing Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong only to run into several bumps in the road.
A deal was reportedly reached with Juventus for Adrien Rabiot only for that transfer to fall through due to the player’s excessive salary demands.
This led United to Casemiro, with rumors of the move only surfacing on Thursday.
But the transfer looked almost complete when Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that Casemiro had expressed a desire to move away from the Spanish capital.
“We spoke this morning, he wants to try a new challenge, a new opportunity. I understand him, the club too,” Ancelotti said on Friday.
“Because of what he has done at this club, his desire and everything he has done for this team, we have to be respectful of that.
“There are negotiations between the clubs, he is still a Real Madrid player but it looks like he is now ready to leave. If he leaves, we have a lot of resources to replace him.
“I always talked a lot with him during my second time at Real Madrid. I just listened to his desire, I think there is no turning back. That’s what he wants. “