Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ruben Amorim sweating as Man Utd close on Sporting raid as double £142m signing gets green light

Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to bring Sporting Lisbon midfielder Morten Hjluland to Manchester United this summer

Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to bring Morten Hjluland to Manchester United this summer

Manchester United are ready to make their move to sign Sporting Lisbon star Morten Hjulmand, though a concerned Ruben Amorim insists he will not sell for a penny less than his exit clause and with a double £142m transfer raid seemingly edging closer.

The Red Devils endured a rollercoaster ride in the 2023/24 season after crashing out of Europe before Christmas following a woeful Champions League campaign, before they went on to suffer in the record-low of eighth in the Premier League defeat after suffering an unacceptable 14 defeats along the way. However, victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final salvaged some wreckage from their season, with Manchester United winning their second trophy in two years under Erik ten Hag and also qualifying for the Europa League in the process.

Any United manager, though, will always be judged on their performances primarily in the Premier League and secondly in Europe and after failing badly on both fronts last season, Ten Hag continues to fight to remain in his job.

GO DEEPER 👉 Man Utd transfers: FIVE top targets with release clauses that won’t break the bank

To that end, a report on Sunday revealed United have whittled down the list of options to replace him to two names after Fabrizio Romano ruled out major contender out of the race. However, it is now not inconceivable either that Ten Hag is allowed to continue in the role and try and oversee an improvement in what would be his third season in charge.

Either way, a decision on that front will need to be reached soon, with the transfer market set to officially open for business later this week.

Man Utd close in on swoop for Morten Hjulmand

As far as incoming new arrivals go, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, following discussions with incoming new sporting director Dan Ashworth, wants to strengthen the spine of his side, with a central defender, a midfielder and a new No 9 all on his shopping list.

United will also try and sign a new right-sided attacker too with Jadon Sancho and Facundo Pellistri both cleared to leave this summer.

Now, after a detailed look at a number of potential options, United have seemingly settled on the signing of Sporting star Hjulmand as their next midfielder and the man most likely to become a permanent partner for teenage sensation Kobbie Mainoo.

With Casemiro and potentially also Christian Eriksen set to depart, United want a new tigerish, deep-lying midfielder who can help shield the backline and quickly work the ball forwards to the creative talents in front of him.

Reports in Portugal claim United have already made clear their wish to sign the Denmark star this summer, having already established contact with Sporting CP over a deal for the seven-times capped midfielder.

Hjulmand is seen as the better option than Benfica’s Joao Neves, who has a more unobtainable €120m release clause in his deal.

As a result, it’s claimed that a nervous Sporting coach Amorim is doing all in his power to block the sale and keep the Dane in situ at the Estadio Jose Alvalade and telling him he’s “essential for the next season”

However, Hjulmand is seemingly keen on making the switch and a frustrated, but ultimately helpless Amorin has insisted the player can only leave if the exit clause in his contract – set at €80m (£67.7m) –  is met.

But Portuguese paper Correio da Manha expect the move to go through with United ‘in the front line’ to make a deal happen.

Man Utd to sign Everton star Branthwaite first

However, Hjulmand is unlikely to be United’s first signing of the summer with that honour set to fall on Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite.

The player was, somewhat controversially, left out of England’s Euro 2024 squad – much to Jamie Carragher’s annoyance.

However, his exclusion certainly helps United out and means they are now free to seal his signing free from the distractions of a major international football tournament.

DON’T MISS 👉 Man Utd centre-back targets: Every option linked for a summer switch assessed

Everton value Branthwaite at around the £75m mark and it is expected a deal will be reached around that figure, though it remains to be seen how much of that will be paid up front and how much of the arrangement will be made up in bonuses and add-ons.

However, the Toffees need a major sale before June 30 to balance the books and ensure they do not breach FFP regulations; a factor that will further aid United’s path to the left-sided centre-half.

The Merseysiders, for their part, have already outlined where a portion of that fee will be spent, having agreed a deal of around £30m with Chelsea for the signing of striker Armando Broja.

To make room for Branthwaite, United have already confirmed the release of £340,000 a week Raphael Varane at the end of his contract, though veteran star Jonny Evans is in talks to extend his arrangement by another 12 months.