Manchester United are the main suitors for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, according to reports – but their pursuit has already hit a stumbling block.
Vinicius has been a Madrid player since 2018, when they brought him to Europe from Brazilian side Flamengo. It took him a few years to settle, but it seems this could be the season of his genuine breakout.
The 21-year-old already has nine goals from 16 appearances between La Liga and the Champions League so far. In addition, he has provided seven assists.
Now establishing himself as a key man in Madrid, the interest in his services that already existed from elsewhere is unlikely to fade.
Vinicius was linked with Man Utd over the summer in a potential double deal involving Raphael Varane. Ultimately, it was only the French centre-back who made the move to Old Trafford.
But his former teammate still seems to be on the Red Devils’ radar. According to El Nacional, Man Utd are willing to offer him a huge salary increase.
At present, he is only the third lowest earner in the Madrid squad. By moving to Manchester, he could significantly improve what he earns.
There has been talk of a contract offer worth €16m net per season over a course of six years. His situation would rapidly change into him being one of Europe’s best paid young players.
However, El Nacional quickly shut down the rumour by revealing that Vinicius has already turned down Man Utd’s advances.
Rather, he would prefer to stay with Real and make a name for himself there – which he appears to be doing this season.
Real president Florentino Perez has subsequently promised Vinicius he will improve his contract. They will be unable to match what United were offering, but that will not matter to the winger.
New terms at the Bernabeu could last until 2028, tying him down until his prime years. He would earn a salary closer to €8m per season and Real would insert a €1bn release clause into his contract.
Vinicius is ready to say yes to the terms, despite United being capable of offering him double the salary.
It remains to be seen if United will look for alternatives in his position in the transfer market, or they were simply viewing this as an opportunistic deal to take advantage of.
Either way, Vinicius will presumably be pledging his future to Los Blancos and United will make do without.
Man Utd plot winger switch
It would seem United are not planning to accommodate another new winger given their current situation.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently changed the formation they have been using to a 3-4-1-2 system. In such a shape, there is little room for a natural winger.
That has added a further problem for summer signing Jadon Sancho, who is yet to justify why United spent so much time and money on securing his signature.
Sancho has not yet provided a goal or assist and is yet to complete 90 minutes in a Premier League game.
United coaches have, according to The Athletic, been working with him over a new role that could either make or break him.
The report claimed they have been testing Sancho as a wing-back to fit him in the team. Furthermore, he would be a greater attacking threat than Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
It still seems something of a waste of a player who hit double figures for his last three seasons at Borussia Dortmund. But there is nowhere else to fit him in the current shape, or so it is thought.
If Sancho cannot find a home in the setup, it wouldn’t make too much sense for United to add yet another player of a similar position.
However, there are doubts about the likes of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard. Therefore, they may need to replenish the ranks to ensure they can remain flexible.
But they won’t be doing so with Vinicius after all. Instead, they will have to hope Sancho fulfils his initial promise and other players step up too.