Manchester United may be forced to pay £70m for Alvaro Morata or Andrea Belotti after seeing initial approaches rejected

Jose Mourinho is determined to get the club’s first major bit of summer business done by bringing in a No.9 and feels Belotti and Morata are excellent options

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Wednesday 07 June 2017 12:21
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Jose Mourinho is keen on adding a No.9 to start Manchester United's summer
Jose Mourinho is keen on adding a No.9 to start Manchester United's summer

Manchester United have had initial approaches rejected for Torino’s Andrea Belotti and Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, as they decide the next step in their pursuit of a striker, and will likely have to pay at least more than £70m for one of them.

Jose Mourinho is determined to get the club’s first major bit of summer business done by bringing in a No.9 and, amid a frustrating dearth of available players in this market, feels Belotti and Morata are excellent options but even they bring complications in terms of how the deals will be done.

The Portuguese has been especially impressed with the 23-year-old Belotti’s revelatory season, where he has scored 28 goals in 38 games, and United have already discussed a potential bid of around £57m.

The striker has a buy-out clause of £87m, however, meaning Torino are unwilling to accept anything less. United currently do not want to enact that option, because they do not want to deviate from their usual payment structure.

There are also fair questions over whether one good season at that age is worth quite that much. The Old Trafford hierarchy had initially hoped to include Matteo Darmian in any transfer, or arrange a structured deal, but Torino have so far proven reluctant.

It means Morata is likelier the smoother signing to complete, and the cheaper one given that Real currently want £78m, but even that has its issues. Real have naturally already mentioned their long-standing interest in David De Gea any time talks taken been broached, and some kind of swap remains possible.

Given the European champions willingness to sign Kylian Mbappe from Monaco, however, they want to offload other attackers and it is widely expected that Morata will leave either way. United just have to meet their valuation, although the Old Trafford club are currently insistent on paying no more than £55m.

Mourinho is meanwhile hopeful of getting a deal done for Benfica’s Victor Lindelof after the international break - when the 22-year-old centre-half’s Swedish side host France on Friday - with Burnley Michael Keane now a back-up option. It is understood that Lindelof’s wages still need to be negotiated.

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