Manchester United have suffered a potentially fatal blow in their hopes to sign Atletico Madrid defender Kieran Trippier this summer.
The Red Devils have been linked with a move for the 30-year-old throughout the summer as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to add some cover and competitions for first-choice right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
However, it’s now looking increasingly unlikely that Trippier will return to English shores in the current window, with Spanish outlet AS claiming the La Liga outfit have informed United that he’s not for sale.
Their report states: “Strength at the back remains at the heart of the team’s identity and an asset which they don’t take for granted. Precisely for that reason, the club has made it clear that they are not prepared to enter negotiations with any club for Kieran Trippier.
“The answer from Atlético to every single inquiry about the English right-back has been a resounding No. Atleti have had to explain several times that Trippier is an important player for the team in their defence of the title and he isn’t for sale.”
It concludes by revealing the only way for any interested party can prize the full-back away from Wanda Metropolitano is by meeting the €60m (£51m) buyout clause in his contract.
Trippier has established himself as a top-class right-back in recent years following a string of impressive performances for both Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid.
The technically gifted workhorse has also made a name for himself on the international stage, scoring in England’s World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia and catching the eye of the Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
“His quality on the ball is outstanding,” said Southgate following a pre-World Cup friendly against Nigeria back in 2018.
“There were two set-plays, the one just before the goal – a free-kick bang on the money – then the corner for Gary. It was a great delivery. But we also know his quality on the ball when he’s in the final third.
“Kieran has outstanding quality, and that kind of profile in that position is very important.”
Therefore, Solskjaer is likely to be gutted at this latest revelation. While Wan-Bissaka’s defensive qualities are unquestionable, the former Crystal Palace gem struggles with the attacking aspect of his game.
In the modern era, full-backs are judged on their attacking output as much as the one in and around their own penalty area, meaning Trippier would have been a very useful alternative option for the Norwegian tactician this season.
The Euro 2020 finalist would’ve been an ideal option to offer healthy competition to his fellow countryman at right-back and ultimately, that would have only helped push the club closer to their rivals in the title race this season.
As a result, Solskjaer could rue this development.