Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd see cheeky ‘opening offer’ for Barcelona star fall short as Ratcliffe learns Deco fee to sell

Barcelona star Vitor Roque is wanted by Manchester United

Barcelona star Vitor Roque is wanted by Manchester United

Manchester United have seen a lowball opening bid for Barcelona striker Vitor Rique fail to convince the LaLiga giants to sell – but reports in Spain claim Sir Jim Ratcliffe has learned the price at which they can bring the Brazilian to Old Trafford.

The British billionaire is looking to make his mark at Manchester United this summer after acquiring 27.7% of the Glazers’ shareholdings earlier this year. And while the Red Devils did win the FA Cup to salvage some wreckage from their season, a disappointing eighth-place finish and a woeful Champions League campaign illustrates that major improvements are needed.

As a result, TEAMtalk understands that Ratcliffe has set his sights on strengthening three main areas of his side, with a central defender, a central midfielder and a new striker all on his list of summer targets.

However, strengthening the spine of his side will be far from easy with vast sums of money likely to be needed if United are to land their first-choice targets this summer.

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To that end, our transfer correspondent Fraser Gillan revealed that United have already seen an opening offer worth a measly £40m for Jarrad Branthwaite fall desperately short, with Everton seeking a minimum £70m for the 21-year-old defender. However, an agreement with the Toffees defender does give Ratcliffe some hope of agreeing a deal.

It’s a similar story too with their hunt for a new striker with an offer also falling short for Vitor Roque.

The Brazilian has endured a really tough time of things since his move from Athletico Paranaense to the Nou Camp back in January, having been limited to just two starts and a total of just two goals from 16 appearances overall.

Vitor Roque agent unhappy at Barcelona situation

Incredibly, after just six months at the club, it’s now claimed Barcelona are ready to offload the striker after feeling he is not quite at the standard expected of him.

His agent, Andre Cury, is far from happy at a lack of action for his client at Barcelona and said just last month that the mess at the club has not helped his client.

“I think Vitor Roque has to have more minutes,” Cury said.

“Nobody understands why they’re not giving him that. Xavi has never spoken to the player, I don’t understand it.

“[Roque] has to work and work harder, and wait for the opportunities, but I believe there were already many, many games in which those minutes could have been given, so we wouldn’t need to be talking about this issue today.

“He is very strong mentally and physically, and has a bit of enthusiasm to show that because in the club and the press there is a lot of nonsense being talked about.

“Bad figures who are saying things that are not true. All of this does not help. Look what happened with Vinicius [Junior] at Real Madrid, it took him two seasons to play. Here in Barcelona, a mess has been created in two months. People want to kill, not help.”

A loan move away has been mooted with a trio of clubs in LaLiga all considering offers to bring in the 19-year-old on a season’s loan.

However, Barcelona would seemingly rather sell and while Juventus are among those to have been linked, the strongest interest has in fact come from United.

Man Utd see opening offer for Barcelona striker fail

Indeed, Ratcliffe has persistently hinted that United would buy young, upcoming stars rather than the finished (and significantly more expensive) articles, saying “There is nothing clever in buying the Mbappes of this world”.

And with United desperate to add another option in front in support of another young striker prospect in Rasmus Hojlund – with the Dane scoring 16 times from 43 appearances in a promising debut season at Old Trafford – it seems the Red Devils have set their sights on signing a player to support the 21-year-old, rather than take his place on a regular basis.

As a result, reports in Spain claim a ‘first offer’ has been launched for Roque by Ratcliffe and Co.

It is understood that United, who were keen to sign the teenager prior to his move to Barcelona, have ‘not lost interest’ in Vitor Roque and have now bid €35m (£29.6m).

Understandably, Barcelona have rejected that offer hands down, but hope remains for United with the Catalan giants seemingly willing to sell and do having a breaking point at which they would like to do business.

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And according to the report, Barcelona sporting director Deco has told Ratcliffe that a deal can be done if they return the €60m (£50.6m) fee they paid Athletico Paranaense in the first place.

As it stands, the two sides are around £20m apart in their valuations, but it remains possible that a deal can be done.

It is, however, claimed that new Barca boss Hansi Flick has not written off Vitor Roque entirely and feels the striker could benefit instead from a season’s loan elsewhere, and preferably within Spain.

However, Deco would rather sell and use the money returned on his signing to reinvest in their squad with a new central midfielder top of their wanted list.