Manchester United’s hopes of signing Álvaro Morata have received a significant boost after the striker told Real Madrid he would like a move to Old Trafford. However, negotiations between the clubs may not be straightforward because of friction relating to David de Gea.
United have frustrated Madrid’s attempts to sign the goalkeeper and fear the Spanish club will drive a hard bargain over Morata as a result. The De Gea issue has led to a strained relationship in the past, with a proposed move breaking down in 2015.
United are not willing to pay more than around £60m for Morata, who is optimistic a deal can be struck. The 24-year-old is due to go on honeymoon in just over a week and would like the transfer to be concluded before then.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s release by United was confirmed on Friday and José Mourinho wants to secure a replacement striker as swiftly as possible. The manager worked with Morata at Madrid and has made the Spain international his principal target. United had an opening offer of £52m turned down this week by Madrid, who held talks with Morata’s representative, Juanma López, on Friday.
López is understood to have informed Madrid’s general director, José Ángel Sánchez, that the player who scored 20 goals in all competitions this season has decided to leave in search of regular first-team football. Morata, who came through Madrid’s youth sides before being sold to Juventus in 2014, started 14 times in La Liga during this campaign having rejoined the club in the summer and suspects his opportunities at the Bernabéu could be even more limited next season.
Morata has been convinced by Mourinho that Old Trafford is the best place to restart his career. Interest from Chelsea has not been followed up and, although Milan have emerged as suitors, Morata is determined to play in the Premier League.
Mourinho gave Morata his first-team debut at Madrid in December 2010 but Morata left for Juventus having made 37 La Liga appearances in nearly four seasons. The release of Ibrahimovic followed a serious knee injury sustained by the 35-year-old in the Europa League semi-final tie against Anderlecht in April. He is expected to be out until early 2018 and will continue his rehabilitation at United.
United are also interested in Internazionale’s winger Ivan Perisic after lodging a €40m offer. Inter are holding out for €55m and, while negotiations continue, the Torino striker Andrea Belotti remains an option as Mourinho seeks to rebuild his attacking options. Reports in Portugal on Friday claimed that a £30m move for the Benfica defender Victor Lindelof could be back on.
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