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Rumor: Manchester United linked to Hoffenheim left-back David Raum

The 24-year-old has caught the attention of many European clubs after a breakout debut Bundesliga campaign and could provide Luke Shaw with fresh competition at left-back next season.

TSG Hoffenheim v SpVgg Greuther Fürth - Bundesliga Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images

Manchester United have opened talks with TSG Hoffenheim over the possibility of signing left-back David Raum from the Bundesliga side, according to reports in Germany.

Sky Sports Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg stated on Monday that “talks [are] ongoing & good” between the Premier League side and Hoffenheim about Raum, but it is only the early stages of the negotiations. The German international could see himself heading to England this summer for a possible €30-35 million transfer, but United faces competition from West Ham, Newcastle, and Borussia Dortmund for his signature.

Raum helped Hoffenheim secure a ninth-place finish in the Bundesliga table last campaign during a personal breakout season. The attack-minded left-back, who has also been deployed at times as a left midfielder due to his ability to get forward and deliver balls into the box for forwards, recorded three goals and 13 assists in 32 league matches after joining Hoffenheim on a free transfer from then-second-division side Greuther Fürth last July.

His impressive performances quickly caught the eye of German national team manager Hansi Flick, and Raum has tallied two assists in nine appearances for Die Mannschaft since making his senior international debut last September. Raum also won the UEFA European U-21 Championship with the German U-21 national team last summer.

Sky Sports originally reported on Saturday that Dortmund are heavily interested in bringing Raum to Signal Iduna Park ahead of next season as well, but they currently don’t have the economic power to compete with United in a transfer race. However, Dortmund are willing to offload Raphael Guerreiro and Nico Schulz this summer to free up funds for a transfer.

Signing a new left-back this summer appears to be on manager Erik ten Hag’s to-do list, but it may not be a priority as of now. United’s interest in Raum accompanies reports that the club informed fullbacks Brandon Williams and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on Monday that they are “free to find a new club” this summer.

Williams recorded one assist in 29 appearances while on loan at relegation side Norwich City during the second half of last season, and allowing the academy graduate to leave this summer would leave United’s left back depth with Shaw, Alex Telles, and perhaps U-23 standout Alvaro Fernandez, who has yet to make his first-team debut.

The right-back position remains a priority over reinforcing at left-back, as Diogo Dalot would be United’s sole right-sided fullback if Wan-Bissaka leaves this summer. However, when taking Luke Shaw’s injury record and Alex Telles’ inconsistency and lack of defensive prowess into account, it can be seen why United have expressed their interest in a player like Raum.

Raum hinted at a possible transfer away from Hoffenheim last month during an interview with German outlet Sport1, in which he expressed his desire to play in international club competitions.

“I would, of course, have liked to play internationally with Hoffenheim,” Raum said. “That unfortunately did not work. It’s still a dream for me.”

A move to United would allow the fullback to play internationally in the UEFA Europa League next season. United missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification by 13 points and a sixth-place finish in the Premier League campaign.

United has yet to reach an agreement to sign any player this transfer window to the disappointment of many fans. The club remains fully focused on submitting a new bid this week for Barcelona’s star center midfielder Frenkie de Jong, per Fabrizio Romano, but interest in a player of Raum’s quality exemplifies that ten Hag is determined to strengthen the squad in areas he believes can be improved.