Why INEOS will be counting their lucky stars they missed out on ‘hugely talented’ £40m defensive target

After being linked with Manchester United on several occasions this year, Max Kilman has now completed a permanent move to West Ham United.

Indeed, the ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers’ skipper was thought to be on INEOS’ shortlist to bolster the backline after last season’s unprecedented injury crisis.

Reports suggested they’d mulled over a move for the experienced, Premier League-proven centre-half before switching their attention to other targets, such as Jarrad Branthwaite, Marc Guehi and Matthijs de Ligt, the latter of which they’re currently in talks with over a potential deal.

Read more: INEOS poised to ignore Ten Hag’s pleas to keep one player as they look to cash in before it’s too late

Reds miss out on Kilman after making De Ligt a priority

Kilman, 27, was keen to reunite with former Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui, who was sought to succeed David Moyes when his tenure came to an end after four-and-a-half years in East London. The club’s technical director, Tim Steidten, assured he was delighted to welcome the ‘hugely talented’ player to the Olympic Stadium.

United never lodged a bid for Kilman, nor did they act to match the Irons’ efforts when they initiated their pursuit in recent weeks, and they’ll be thankful that they didn’t; the uncapped Englishman moved for a remarkable £40m fee, while De Ligt, who captained Ajax to a domestic double and the Champions League semi-finals at just 19 years old, is expected to cost just £2m more.

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