Manchester United unwilling to negotiate on £60m Rasmus Hojlund fee

Rasmus Hojlund - Manchester United unwilling to negotiate on £60m Rasmus Hojlund fee

Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund, 20, is valued at £86 million by Atalanta despite playing less than 90 senior club games – Reuters/Borut Zivulovic

Manchester United are unwilling to pay more than £60 million for Atalanta striker Rasmus Hojlund as they wrestle with tight financial constraints governing spending.

United are in talks with the Italian club over the Denmark striker but have a firm ceiling in mind for the 20–year-old, who was initially being valued at an outlandish £86 million.

Erik ten Hag has other targets in addition to Hojlund and United are adamant the inexperienced Dane – who has played fewer than 90 senior club games – is not their only option.

United are thought to be holding concurrent talks with Eintracht Frankfurt over 24-year-old striker Randal Kolo Muani and it is understood Ten Hag also has a firm interest in Ajax forward Mohammed Kudus.

Kudus is also the subject of interest from Chelsea and Arsenal and would represent a different type of attacker to Hojlund and Muani, who are more recognised centre-forwards. Interestingly, sources have indicated that a new forward does not necessarily have to be an out-and-out No. 9, hence the interest in Kudus.

United have previously looked at Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix, too, but backed away from a loan deal for the Portugal forward in January due to the costs involved. Felix instead joined Chelsea on loan.

As things stand, United seem unlikely to challenge Bayern Munich for the £100 million-rated Harry Kane, even though he would ideally be the striker Ten Hag would most like to sign.

Old Trafford sources are adamant they will sign a striker before the close of the transfer window on September 1 but there is an acceptance it will have to be at the right price and that they have little margin for error given their pressing need for a striker and Europe’s new financial framework.

United have spent an initial £99 million on England midfielder Mason Mount and Cameroonian goalkeeper Andre Onana so far this summer and are working from a budget of about £120 million net.

Mason Mount - Manchester United unwilling to negotiate on £60m Rasmus Hojlund fee

United are at the edge of their transfer spend cap after signing Mason Mount (pictured) and Mason Mount and goalkeeper Andre Onana – Getty Images/Robbie Jay Barratt

They will bring in around £20 million from the sales of Anthony Elanga and Alex Telles to Nottingham Forest and Al Nassr respectively. United are likely to earn more from both deals in add-ons.

But with a striker still to sign, the need to sell more players is obvious if they are to fall comfortably within Uefa’s new Financial Sustainability rules and the Premier League’s own profit and sustainability rules and ensure they do not limit their room for manoeuvre in future windows.

Under the new Uefa rules, clubs will be committed to spending 70 per cent of their total revenues, plus the profit from any player sales, on transfers, player and coach wages and agents’ fees. Next season, that figure will be 90 per cent and 80 per cent the year after.

Well placed United sources have said they simply can’t just throw an extra £10 million at a striker because the Financial Sustainability calculations – like those governing the Premier League – are tight and it would have a knock on effect for the next transfer they do.

Recruitment has improved since Ten Hag took charge last year but after a series of costly transfer mistakes down the years, United cannot afford for this striker signing not to work out.

Mount had just a year left on his contract with Chelsea and United sources say they are looking at other quality players who might have 12 months left on their deals next summer since it makes them cheaper to buy.

They are also targeting younger talents before their valuation potentially explodes in the future and put Hojlund in that category.

With Anthony Martial still working his way back to fitness after suffering a hamstring injury at the end of last season and the club yet to sign a striker, Ten Hag has been experimenting with Jadon Sancho as a false nine in pre-season and it is considered a creative alternative that the manager may need to put to use on occasion next season.

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