Manchester United are reportedly preparing an opening offer to Brighton for Evan Ferguson with Erik ten Hag determined to bring the talented Irish striker to Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have endured a torrid start to the new season, having taken just six points from their opening five games to sit fifth. That form leaves them licking their wounds over what is statistically their worst ever start to a season since 1989.
And having lost their three matches, they head to winless Burnley on Saturday evening in a match that Ten Hag and Co dare not lose.
Having spent around £178m this summer, though, Ten Hag was expected to have United challenging from the off this season. However, they already find themselves a distant nine points adrift of Manchester City, with Robbie Savage telling TEAMtalk why their title hopes are already over.
A defeat on Saturday evening will make things turn really ugly for Ten Hag. He has already had to defend himself from talk he is already under pressure and amid speculation his job is on the line.
To that end, reports earlier this week claimed the Red Devils were eyeing up ‘rising star’ Arne Slot as his successor.
In the meantime, Ten Hag will carry on regardless and hope his summer signings begin to settle down and help inspire an upturn in fortunes.
But while the injured Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat are yet to make any sort of impact and big-money goalkeeper signing Andre Onana has struggled badly, there has at least been positive signs from costly new striker Rasmus Hojlund.
The Dane has looked promising so far, scoring his first goal in the 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League and also coming close to a goal on his home debut last weekend against Brighton.
Ten Hag determined to bring Evan Ferguson to Man Utd
However, at just 20 years of age, Hojlund cannot do it all on his own. And in the wake of a lack of options to play at centre forward, United are seemingly ready to dip their toes back into the transfer market once again in January.
To that end, their reported interest in Brighton hotshot Ferguson is nothing new.
They have been on the Irishman’s trail for the best part of 12 months, with their desire to sign him ramping up in recent weeks.
Indeed, Ferguson has started the new season in blistering form, scoring four times in five Premier League appearances so far.
Now, according to reports in Spain, United are ready to test the water with a firm £50m offer for his services ahead of the January window, which opens for official business in just 100 days time.
Ten Hag reportedly sees the player, himself just 18, as a sound investment for the future and someone who will go on to become a frequent figure at the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts.
Furthermore, the Dutchman also reportedly thinks his signing in January could help push United on to new heights over the second half of the season.
Brighton will not bow over lowly Ferguson offer
The Seagulls, however, are highly unlikely to entertain such offers, particularly midway through a season of their own that promises so much. They took a similar stance last January over Arsenal’s pursuit with Moises Caicedo, whom they rejected a £70m bid for, before ultimately selling the Ecuadorian for £115m to Chelsea.
As such, as keen as United are on Ferguson, even a firm opening offer for such an amount will likely be rejected out of hand by the Seagulls.
And United may ultimately have to spend double that opening figure if they are to prise him away.
Ferguson is contracted to Brighton until 2028, and has 14 goals in 34 appearances since being thrust into the first-team limelight at the AMEX.