Transfer Gist: Man Utd launch doomed £51.3m bid after abandoning two transfers amid PL rivals’ hijack

Erik ten Hag is said to be annoyed that Man Utd have had to pull out of two transfer moves this summer but a bid has been placed for a cheaper alternative.

It has taken up to mid-June 2023 for Man Utd to realise Daniel Levy and Aurelio De Laurentiis are not worth the hassle of negotiating with. The former has been in charge of Spurs since 2001, while the latter has owned Napoli since 2004. This should not really be news.

Yet here we are, with Man Utd abandoning moves for their apparent first and second choice striker targets. The money involved in procuring Harry Kane from north London would be ‘unrealistic’, and Victor Osimhen is expected to similarly ‘likely be out of reach’.

This comes from The Guardian, who report Erik ten Hag as being ‘disappointed’ but ultimately accepting of decisions made with the club’s wider transfer ambitions in mind.

Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail reckons Man Utd see the Kane move ‘as a non-starter for now’. The fee for a player who turns 30 next month would have been at least £100m; Osimhen is valued at £120m by Napoli.

It’s good to see Man Utd agree with Liverpool either way.

Those figures have made a move for Rasmus Hojlund particularly tempting – and ‘the jewel of Atalanta’ has indeed been the subject of an apparent Man Utd bid.

The hope is that €60m ‘plus bonuses’ could twist Atalanta’s arm and secure the striker, but Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla does suggest the Serie A side might hold out for €70m instead.

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And perhaps just to bypass their apparent fear of dealing with obstinate chairman, Man Utd have not actually been in direct contact with Atalanta yet; this deal has been set up through ‘intermediaries’. Feels like they might need to actually talk to the high-powered executives at some point instead of sending a mate to ask whether targets will go out with them.

That might even be part of the reason Man Utd are missing out on another player they have been linked with. Bart Verbruggen was a reported option as part of a David de Gea succession plan but Brighton have moved to capture the Anderlecht keeper after a lack of movement at Old Trafford.

The Nicolo Barella stuff came out of nowhere on Wednesday evening, with the Daily Telegraph’s initial report on Newcastle’s £50m move seeming rather confident the deal would go through.

On slightly closer inspection, that does not actually seem to be the case. Fabrizio Romano reckons that while ‘genuine interest’ in Barella exists at St James’ Park, it has not yet manifested itself in a bid or even ‘formal approach’. And when it does, Newcastle might not receive the news they want over his valuation.

The Italian media, perhaps predictably, pour cold water on the speculation. Calciomercato state that Barella’s agent has never even spoken to Newcastle, while ‘the certainty is that £50m won’t be enough for him’.

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