Cristiano Ronaldo may or may not leave Manchester United this summer, but it now seems certain that United are pushing ahead to sign 19-year-old Benjamin Sesko from Red Bull Salzburg.
United are notably short of strikers and it was reported yesterday that sources inside the club are concerned at the lack of options in attack as the new season gets under way.
Aside from Ronaldo, only Anthony Martial remains as a recognised striker.
As reported here yesterday, Sesko, dubbed “the new Haaland”, may not yet be ready for the rigours of the Premier League but could provide some sort of cover, however, Salzburg are keen to keep him another season and want big money for him.
However, this morning, The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell says that United are pushing strongly to sign the youngster.
“Football director John Murtough met the agent of Benjamin Sesko last Wednesday. More talks are planned over the Red Bull Salzburg centre-forward, but United face competition, from Chelsea and possibly Liverpool, who have a good relationship with the Red Bull group.
“United have scouted Sesko since he was at Domzale, a club in Slovenia. Back then, in 2019, United viewed a €3 million (£2.5m, $3.1m) price as excessive. The cost now would be much higher, to the point that a deal is viewed as complicated.
“Staff at Salzburg have speculated that Sesko, whose contract runs to 2026, could be even better than Erling Haaland, so the Austrian side are not willing sellers.”
The Athletic fall short of speculating as to the asking price, although this has been reported elsewhere as an eye-watering £50-£55 million.
United will obviously hope to negotiate that figure and/or pay a large part of it as add-ons, but while it seems improbable that they would get anywhere close, it should be borne in mind that they did agree to a deal reaching £35 million with Atalanta for Amad Diallo (with €21 paid up front), a player who was even younger and had even less senior experience (just a few minutes) than Sesko.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has claimed that the player will decide this week whether he wants to leave the club now or wait another season.
This means that this one could move quickly and despite Chelsea and Liverpool interest, United are probably in the box seat given the price point and the fact that they have got a head start on their rivals.
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