Manchester United are considering a surprise move for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
A report by The Telegraph suggests United have been offered the opportunity to initiate talks with the Danish midfielder, as Tottenham are content to sell.
Erik ten Hag is reported to be lobbying Old Trafford officials to secure additional reinforcements in the midfield prior to the close of the window on Friday. The Dutchman also managed the Danish midfielder at Bayern Munich, ticking another alleged requirement for new United recruits.
Højbjerg offers a wealth of experience in the Premier League and the type of combative profile United have lacked in their opening three fixtures.
Guardiola once described how Højbjerg was particularly adept at winning “second balls” – an important part of initiating effective transitions.
A deal for the Dane had been agreed earlier in the window with Atletico Madrid, worth in the region of £30 million. The Spanish club were unable to agree on personal terms with his representatives, however, and the move collapsed.
Højbjerg has also received interest from Saudi Arabia, which he has personally rebuffed.
The Dane was offered an eye-watering £45 million net over the duration of the contract in the Saudi Pro-League, which Højbjerg still turned down, such is his desire to remain at the top of European football.
Though the former Southampton man has featured as a substitute in two of Tottenham’s opening fixtures, including the 2-0 defeat of United in London, he is not thought to be a long-term part of Ange Postecoglou’s plans.
This defeat by Spurs, ironically, exposed Ten Hag’s midfield unit most decisively.
Casemiro has been left as the sole defensive guardian in the centre of the pitch for United. As a result, the Brazilian has looked overwhelmed at times in the fact of opposition counter-attacks.
The need for a player to strengthen the midfield was obvious only thirty minutes into the opening day fixture against Wolves; a game which United were overwhelmingly lucky to win such was the ease with which Wolves cut through their midfield.
Man Utd (1.53) 1-0 (2.49) Wolves
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The report by The Telegraph suggests Sofyan Amrabat had been United’s “top target” for this much-needed addition, but an offer has not yet been made.
Højbjerg offers a comparable profile to the Moroccan international, with the added bonus of not needing time to adapt to the rigours of English football.