Manchester United have offered players in partial exchange for Rasmus Hojlund during talks with Atalanta – but the Italian club insists on a cash payment.
Discussions about Hojlund are taking place in the context of negotiations for Andre Onana, as United try to balance the financial obligations of both to fit the club’s summer budget, which is around £100 million ($131 million).
It is in this context that United shot the idea of swap agreements plus money for Hojlund with several players for sale. Separate loans were also proposed.
Fred and Donny van de Beek are available and both will miss United’s first pre-season friendly against Leeds in Oslo on Wednesday as their training volumes are managed.
However, Atalanta expressed no interest in the players that United had proposed and want to be paid the fee for Hojlund in full. Part-exchange agreements are notoriously complex to implement.
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Atalanta has set a price of 100 million. € (£85.5m) on the 20-year-old’s head, which United consider excessive.
United have other transfer options in attack, including Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani, and could move on from Højlund if a compromise cannot be found.
Hojlund is keen on a move to United this summer, although Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are also in the market for a No. 9 and could come into the reckoning.
50 to watch – Hojlund: Atalanta’s striker is on the rise – just don’t compare him to Haaland
United are simultaneously pursuing Onana, with that move more advanced. However, there is still work to be done on personal terms and price with Inter, and several important talks are taking place.
United last week made a verbal bid worth €45m (£38.6m) for Onana, but Inter want €60m. There is a belief that a fee in the middle would suit both parties.
Onana, who has been on holiday in Cameroon, reported for Inter training today (Thursday) and signed autographs for supporters who shouted his name.
Inter and Atalanta are aware of United’s double goals and neither are said to be willing to concede a fee to give the other Italian side more money.
Inter boss Simone Inzaghi admitted on Wednesday that the club need to sell to buy and are targeting two new goalkeepers in anticipation of Onana joining Samir Handanovic in his departure from the San Siro.
Erik ten Hag wants Onana signed when his team leaves for their US tour. United fly to New York after playing Lyon in Edinburgh on Wednesday. They face Arsenal at MetLife Stadium on July 22.
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Meanwhile, Tom Heaton is United’s only fit senior goalkeeper. The 37-year-old started against Leeds and is expected to continue for the Lyon friendly, with Dean Henderson still working his way back from thigh surgery. Henderson, 26, has been training on grass but requires more time to be fully ready for the matches.
Luton expressed an interest in signing Heaton, but United blocked the move amid goalkeeper uncertainty.
Nottingham Forest want to take Henderson back after his successful loan spell last season, but nothing can move until Onana is in the building. Should the Onana signing not be agreed, Henderson is seen at United as a credible candidate to be No.1.
The delicacy of the goalkeeping situation can be seen in the fact that United also stopped an approach from Sunderland for back-up Nathan Bishop, who was only on the bench against Leeds. Matej Kovar, 23, played the second half, but Bishop, also 23, is also needed for training.
Sale would free up money for United’s pursuit of Hojlund and Onana, with Fulham interested in Fred. Van de Beek, Henderson, Scott McTominay and Anthony Elanga are all seen as viable departures, potentially commanding significant fees.
United have an interest in Sofyan Amrabat, the Fiorentina midfielder who starred for Morocco at the World Cup and played under Ten Hag in Utrecht. But any formal move would require more sales.
United have made one signing so far, bringing in Mason Mount from Chelsea in a £55m deal that could rise to £60m. David de Gea confirmed his departure from United after 12 years on Saturday after rejecting the club’s final contract offer.
Mark Carey has looked at Højlund and why the young striker has been in demand. Comparisons with Dusan Vlahovic and Erling Haaland have been touched upon, although the striker is keen to play them down. There’s also a closer look at his shooting quality and how he compares to other under-23 players across Europe… you can read the full piece here.
“While the typical modern forward has seen a bit of a makeover in recent years towards a more crafty, fluid false nine profile, Hojlund is more of a throwback – with his hasty, tenacious style of play that often looks like he’s playing. on fast forward.
“The blistering speed he possesses is a huge advantage when playing on the counter-attack.
“With many elite clubs looking for a long-term solution to their forward line, his emergence could hardly come at a better time.”
(Photo: Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)