Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Casemiro from Real Madrid in a deal worth £70m, with Erik ten Hag describing the Brazilian as “the cement between the stones” in midfield.
United have paid the Spanish giants an initial £60m, plus £10m in add-ons, while the Brazilian has signed a four-year contract with the option of a further 12 months at Old Trafford.
Casemiro bid an emotional farewell to Real on Monday and was unveiled as a United player on the pitch ahead of their Monday Night Football clash with Liverpool.
The Brazilian told the club’s official website: “I have worked with many great managers in my career and, having met with Erik and heard his ideas, I can’t wait to work closely with him, his staff and my new team-mates in the coming years.
Speaking about his new £70m man, United manager Ten Hag told Sky Sports: “He is the cement between the stones. That’s what we have looking for in the summer. We’ve found him and I am really happy.”
But the signing of Casimero has been branded as a sign of “desperation” by Sky Sports pundits and former United stalwarts Roy Keane and Gary Neville.
“They’re desperate,” said former United captain and midfielder Keane. “But he is quality player. He is getting a long-term contract with a lot of money, it’s the same with [Christian] Eriksen getting a three-year deal.
“The agent must delighted with that deal with Manchester United. When you’re desperate you pay over the odds, I suppose.”
“I don’t get as excited about the signings that Man United make at the moment as I know they’re not part of the strategy at the start of the summer,” added Neville. “Every other club is really precise, you don’t see them pinging around like a pinball in the transfer market, from one to the other.
“It’s [Frenkie] De Jong, to [Adrien] Rabiot and then it ends up being Casemiro on a phenomenal contract that will cost the club £160m.
“I have to say, I think he’ll do well for a couple years for the club, Casemiro. But someone in two years time is going to pick up a player who will be beyond his best years on £20m who they can’t shift. It may be Erik ten Hag, it may be another manager, it could be new owners.
“There is a large element of desperation with the signing because a five-year deal for a 30-year-old should not happen.”
Casemiro: United move not about money
At his farewell Real Madrid press conference, the Brazilian insisted his move to United is not motivated by money. The 30-year-old, who spent nine years with Real, also said he has joined “the biggest team in the world”.
“If it was about money I would have left four or five years ago,” he said. “Those people who think that are wrong, they don’t know me at all.
“The club has always treated me very well. It’s my decision, my path.”
Casemiro was greatly appreciated by Real boss Carlo Ancelotti, but, speaking on Friday, the Italian confirmed the player wanted “to try a new challenge”.
“I talked to him [on Friday morning],” Ancelotti said. “He wants to try a new challenge, a new opportunity. I and the club understand it.
“With what he’s done at this club and the person he is, we have to respect it. We wish him all the best in his next challenge.”
Real couldn’t guarantee Casemiro game time and it was viewed as sensible to get his wages off the books, while banking a big transfer fee.
United have desperately needed a defensive midfielder for years and the 30-year-old offers attributes manager Erik ten Hag does not possess in his squad.
The former Sao Paulo man has played over 300 times for Madrid and has been part of five Champions League successes.
Casemiro becomes United’s fourth summer signing after the arrivals of Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez.
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