The summer transfer window is moving along smoothly for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United, but their interest in Nicolo Barella could be set to cause a few bumps.
That’s because the Red Devils are expected to encounter competition from Liverpool for the Inter Milan star, who has just played a leading role in Italy’s Euro 2020 title triumph.
United’s hopes to sign Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane appear promising amid reports he’s looking at property in Manchester, but they’re reportedly £20million short in their valuation of the player.
Atalanta’s Cristian Romero has been linked with Solskjaer’s side in the past, but United are understood to be increasing their interest in the player as a back-up to Varane should they need one.
Daily Star Sport unpacks the latest transfer rumour headlines around Manchester United and what they’ll mean for rest of the summer window…
United battle Liverpool for Barella
The rivalry between United and Liverpool has on many occasions transcended the pitch into the transfer market, and Euro 2020 champion Barella looks set to cause another clash this summer.
TuttoMercatoWeb reported Jurgen Klopp’s side are willing to offer €70million (£60m) for Barella, and United may be willing to shell out a similar fee in order to land the Inter talisman.
One can understand why Liverpool are in a hurry to secure another elite central midfield talent, having seen Georginio Wijnaldum leave on a free transfer to join Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
The need is perhaps less desperate for United, who could be set to make Paul Pogbathe best-paid player in Premier League history, but Barella would be an upgrade on most of their existing midfield.
Which position do United need to strengthen most after Jadon Sancho's signing? Let us know in the comments section.
The Nerazzurri gem joined Inter from Cagliari in 2019 and helped the club win Serie A for the first time in 11 years last season, going on to play a pivotal role in Italy’s European Championship triumph.
Selling the player could cause a stir at the San Siro, however, as new Inter coach Simone Inzaghi was led to believe Achraf Hakimi’s sale to PSG would be the last of their major departures.
Both United and Liverpool can offer Champions League football and have the finances for a deal, though the former may have to reassess their balance once they tie up Jadon Sancho’s impending arrival.
United £20m short in Varane bid
Signing Real star Varane has been considered United’s secondary concern after the Sancho deal, but the two clubs could be further apart than many fans envisioned in recent weeks.
That’s after talkSPORT reported Los Blancos are seeking a whopping £60m to sell Varane this summer, which is £20m more than United value him at.
Solskjaer’s side are eager to save some money considering the four-time Champions League-winner is already in the final 12 months of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real have already lost one elite defender and leader presence in Sergio Ramos, who ended his 16-year stay in Madrid and swiftly signed for PSG on a free transfer earlier in July.
Varane, 28, was recently ‘given permission’ by his club to talk to United, though that gesture will mean little unless the English powerhouse can meet Real’s demands regarding a fee.
Romero eyed as alternative
In the event United can’t get a deal done to sign 2018 World Cup-winner Varane, one sequence of events could see the club turn to Bergamo for a centre-back alternative.
Conscious of the possibility Real may repeat the hard-ball tactics that saw United miss out on Ramos in 2015, Atalanta ace Romero is viewed as a more attainable back-up.
Gazzetta dello Sport reported La Dea have already identified Juventus defender Merih Demiral as his replacement, which would help in making for a smoother transaction between clubs.
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Romero, 23, was part of the Argentina squad that recently defeated Brazil 1-0 to lift the 2021 Copa America, but he’ll return to Atalanta for the second half of a two-season loan from Juve.
It’s expected that Gian Piero Gasperini’s side will exercise their purchase option for the player, and United are said to be willing to offer €45m (£38.4m) for his services should they fail to sign Varane.
That may not be enough, however, after it recently came to light Atalanta could demand a fee of €60m (£52m) for Romero, who is also touted as a target for Tottenham this summer.
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