Manchester United are reported to have entered “formal talks” with Sporting for their Danish midfielder Morten Hjulmand.
The report suggests they have been informed they will need to meet the Dane’s release clause in order to agree a deal – worth £68 million. This corroborates a figure revealed by The Peoples Person earlier this month.
It’s believed United had proposed a potential swap deal for Hjulmand involving Facundo Pellistri.
Sporting officials promptly rejected the offer, contending they would not entertain any deal involving a player exchange and reiterating a successful offer would only be met by triggering the Danish international’s release clause.
Sporting are eminently keen to keep Hjulmand in Portugal beyond this summer. Record suggests the club are even considering offering the Dane the club’s captaincy as a gambit to convince him to stay.
Ruben Amorim’s current captain – Sebastian Coates – faces an “unknown future”, while other key players – Neto and Gonaclo Inacio – are likely to depart the club this summer. Inacio himself has been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
The 24-year-old defensive midfielder has emerged as a crucial member of Amorim’s team, who sit currently atop the Liga Portugal table. They are also through to the quarter finals of the Taca de Portugal (the Portuguese cup) and the last 32 of the Europa League.
Hjulmand has provided one goal and two assists in the league, despite being primarily a defensive-minded player. His defensive statistics are excellent and he is a willing and capable presser, who often finds himself in the right place and the right time in midfield.
United’s midfield has suffered this season, often being overrun by the opposition. In particular, Erik ten Hag’s side have struggled containing counter-attacks, with teams able to carve through his midfield with ease. The physicality, and positional sense, of the Danish midfielder would go some way towards fixing this issue.
Sofyan Amrabat – signed from Fiorentina on loan in the summer – looks set to return to Italy at the end of the season. If he does, United will need a reinforcement more suited to the rigours of English football than the Moroccan.
Hjulmand appears to fit the bill perfectly.