- Tottenham forward Kane top of Erik ten Hag’s striker wishlist
- Napoli’s Victor Osimhen valued at €150m by Italian champions
Manchester United will attempt to smooth negotiations with Tottenham by bidding as quickly as possible for Harry Kane this summer, while they are also preparing to step up their interest in Chelsea’s Mason Mount.
Erik ten Hag is keen to sign a new striker and Kane tops a shortlist that also includes Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Rasmus Højlund of Atalanta. United have been quoted €150m (£130m) for Osimhen, which would put the Nigerian out of their reach. Højlund, the 20-year-old Denmark striker, would be seen as one for the future if he moves to Old Trafford this summer.
The club are aware it will not be easy to convince Daniel Levy to let Kane leave Spurs. Levy is under significant pressure after a hugely disappointing season and supporters have called for him to quit as chairman. Tottenham are yet to appoint a new manager, are in danger of missing out on European qualification and will be in further trouble if they lose Kane.
Yet Levy is a notoriously tough negotiator and there is a feeling he may be prepared to keep Kane, even though the England captain’s contract runs out next year. Kane has been silent on his future and there has been little indication he is prepared to sign an extension. There is the possibility of Spurs losing him on a free transfer next year.
However, United believe signing Kane could transform them into title contenders and they intend to test Levy’s resolve. They are wary of a saga developing and do not want to spend the entire summer chasing the Spurs striker. It is believed they will look to make their move early and hope they will come up with enough money to convince Levy to sell. Ten Hag is said to be obsessed with Kane.
United have other options but Osimhen, whose goals have driven Napoli to the Serie A title this season, is likely to prove too expensive. Chelsea are also interested in Osimhen. United are wary of spending more than £100m on the Napoli player as there is no guarantee of him adjusting to the Premier League.
Højlund is a cheaper option and highly regarded but there is an acknowledgement that he would not be ready to be a regular starter next season. The youngster joined Atalanta from Sturm Graz last summer and has caught the eye during his debut season in Serie A. Højlund shot to prominence when he scored a hat-trick for Denmark against Finland in March. United believe they will need to sign an additional striker if they buy Højlund.
Ten Hag is also focusing on midfield additions and United believe they have a strong chance of signing Mount, who is increasingly likely to leave Chelsea. Mount’s contract expires next year and talks over an extension have stalled. Arsenal and Liverpool are also interested in the England midfielder, with Liverpool previously regarded as the frontrunners.
Mauricio Pochettino, who is set to take over as Chelsea’s new head coach, would like to keep Mount. But sources believe the 24-year-old is prepared to leave his boyhood club. Chelsea have been reluctant to meet Mount’s wage demands and relations have become strained in recent months. It is thought that Chelsea, who do not want to keep players who are in the final year of their contracts, will want at least £60m for Mount.
Ten Hag wants more athleticism in midfield and he is a fan of Mount’s versatility and work rate. United are also interested in the Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic and they could rival Arsenal and Newcastle with a bid for West Ham’s Declan Rice. Manchester City and Bayern Munich have also targeted Kovacic.