That’s according to journalist Dharmesh Sheth, who wrote on Twitter: “Manchester United exploring the possibility of late deal for Barcelona right-back Sergino Dest. If they can secure a move, they will allow Aaron Wan-Bissaka to leave – West Ham United and Crystal Palace interested. Dest played under Erk ten Hag at Ajax.”
There has been a suggestion that the £50m United flop could be used as part of a swap deal for the United States international, while the Englishman’s former club Crystal Palace are also believed to be keen on a reunion, amid talk of a possible cut-price swoop.
The Red Devils are seemingly unwilling to fork out the potential €20m (£17m) fee it could take to prise Dest from the Camp Nou – hence the talk of a swap deal – although some reports have suggested that the La Liga side may sanction a loan exit.
While there has been talk that the Old Trafford outfit have ‘rebuffed‘ recent interest in Wan-Bissaka due to the difficulties of securing a replacement so late in the day, the often hectic end to the window could spring a surprise, with Dest no doubt offering a fine addition if a deal can be struck.
Much like recent addition Antony and Lisandro Martinez, the 21-year-old right-back is a player well known to Erik ten Hag having featured under the Dutchman during his time at Ajax, making his breakthrough during the 2019/20 season before earning a swift move to Catalonia.
While it has been a mixed spell with his current side since then – with the £16.2m-rated gem failing to make an appearance so far this season – he has still racked up 72 appearances in all competitions to date, scoring three goals and providing five assists in that time.
Although now on the fringes under Xavi Hernandez, the iconic Spaniard had lauded the youngster for his display against Valencia back in February, insisting that he was “spectacularly good” in the 4-1 triumph.
Such high praise for the full-back, who was also dubbed “unreal” by Gregg Berhalter, will no doubt have caught the eye of those back at the Theatre of Dreams, while Ten Hag will have seen first-hand the impact that the £97k-per-week starlet can have in an attacking sense, having previously recorded two goals and six assists in just 38 senior games during his time in Holland.
Even amid his current struggles with La Blaugrana, Dest still compares favourably to his peers among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, notably showcasing his ball-playing talent as the so-called “comet” – as labelled by ten Hag – ranks in the top 2% for both progressive carries and dribbles completed.
The current first-choice at United on the right of the defence, Diogo Dalot, only ranks in the top 44% and top 43% for the same two metrics, respectively, while Wan-Bissaka ranks highly with regards to dribbles completed (top 4%), yet is in just the top 39% for progressive carries.
It may be yet another case of Ten Hag opting for a familiar face in the transfer market, although Dest’s arrival could well help the 52-year-old in his attempts further implement his playing style. Should he do so, then it could an unreal addition for the Red Devils.