Manchester United’s search for a world class forward at a knock down price this month could lead them to consider AS Roma’s World Cup winner, Paulo Dybala.
United have been strongly linked with the player on many occasions in the past and were turned down by him in 2019 while at Juventus when a swap deal involving him and Romelu Lukaku was mooted.
The now 29 year old eventually left Juve on a free transfer last summer and despite United being linked with him again, he ended up joining Roma.
But according to Corriere dello Sport, there is an unusually low buyout clause in his contract, particularly for non-Italian sides, which could see him snapped up for just €12 million (£10.5m) after just one year in the Italian capital.
“Joya’s contract is … 4 million per season plus 2 not all simple bonuses … at the end of the first year, if no improvement has been made previously, an exit clause worth 12 million for abroad and 20 for Italy frees the player.
“If the clause is cancelled in the meantime, the bonuses become part of the salary which thus rises to 6 net.”
Thus, Roma would have to either increase Dybala’s salary to €6 million or risk losing him at the end of the season for €12 million.
The release clause goes up to €20 million for Serie A rivals.
Although that clause does not come into effect until June, Roma might be forced to consider a sale of anything over that amount to avoid a difficult situation in five months’ time.
Given United’s predicament, something around the £15 million mark for a proven world class forward could represent a shrewd piece of business, albeit a bit of a gamble.
However, Dybala’s injury record would be a major concern.
He had six separate injuries last season and two this season, the second of which meant he missed most of the World Cup.
However, Erik ten Hag might consider that sharing the workload with Anthony Martial would lessen the likelihood of the Argentine sustaining regular injuries, especially those relating to muscle fatigue, which is a weakness.
Dybala also generally operates as a second striker rather than a centre forward, although he has played up top 137 times in his career, scoring a respectable 47 goals and providing 26 assists from that position.
Still under 30, Dybala has a few years left in the tank yet, unlike recent additions such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani.
Former United boss José Mourinho will be nervously watching the window progressing and hoping that he can hold on to his star, who has a true market value of €30 million as per transfermarkt.com.