There can be no doubt about Rasmus Højlund’s desire to play at Old Trafford next season. Particularly amidst reports the Dane is willing to turn down more lucrative wage packets elsewhere to ensure his future lies in Manchester.
Having emerged as the club’s number one option for the much-needed centre-forward position, Manchester United appear very close to agreeing a deal with Atalanta, having already agreed personal terms with the player.
A difference in valuation had made the move initially unfeasible for United, who were unwilling to pay the reported £86 million fee Atalanta were demanding for their star striker.
A compromise of around £60 million was felt more reasonable by Old Trafford officials, who have been locked in negotiations with their Italian counterparts for weeks now.
Atalanta appeared to have agreed a deal for Almeria striker, El Bilal Touré, earlier in the week. The Malian forward is a like-for-like replacement for Højlund, which may explain why United’s proposed transfer has gained such momentum in the past few days.
The Premier League club are not the not only interested party in Højlund however.
As reported here, Paris Saint-Germain have entered the fray for the forward’s services, holding “discussions” with Atalanta simultaneous to United’s advances. The transfer circus swirling around Kylian Mbappé suggests PSG will be keen to make a splash of their own in the market soon.
The French club are keen for recruitment up front, regardless of Mbappé’s future, given the only strikers in Luis Enrique’s new squad are an aging Mauro Icardi and an unproven Hugo Ekitiké. Højlund appears their number one solution to this problem.
Indeed, Gianluca Di Marzio reports PSG have offered the Dane “higher” wages than the contract proposed by United, yet Højlund still prefers a transfer to Old Trafford over Parc de Princes.
United officials remain confident a deal will be agreed.
While Atalanta continue to ask for a fee in the region of €80 million, Di Marzio reports United “expect an agreement of €70 million plus bonuses” to be struck, with confirmation coming “this weekend.”
Højlund’s overriding desire to wear the Red Devils shirt will be music to the ears of fans who have endured too many mercenary-style arrivals at the club in recent years. The club appear to be heeding these expensive lessons however, considering a similar type of enthusiasm to Højlund an essential in the recruitment process. Andre Onana and Mason Mount both tick this box in abundance.
It will also prove a significant boost to his prospective new manager, Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman considers Højlund the “perfect fit” for his system and, once again, reiterated his desire for a new forward in a recent interview:
“If it was up to me, [it would happen] as soon as possible.”
The noise emanating from Italy suggests Ten Hag will soon be granted his wish. The fact Højlund will be turning down better money elsewhere to ensure it happens makes the deal even sweeter.