Man Utd and Chelsea alerted to bargain striker deal after exit confirmation comes; two Prem sides already in talks

France strikers Marcus Thuram and Karim Benzema

Man Utd and Chelsea have a chance to complete their unfinished business for a France international in the summer, and neither will have to pay a fee, per a report.

Both the Red Devils and Blues are hunting a new centre-forward ahead of the summer window. Wout Weghorst is only a stop-gap solution to Cristiano Ronaldo’s mid-season exit from Old Trafford.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have spent well over £500m since Todd Boehly and his Clearlake partners took charge. However, a reliable frontman hasn’t yet been acquired.

Both clubs were linked with Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram during the winter window. The French international, 25, has been a revelation this season after ditching the left wing for a central role.

Marcus – the son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram – has bagged 14 goals and four assists in 22 matches in German football this year.

However, Thuram is out of contract at season’s end and per Gladbach chief Roland Virkus, the striker is poised to walk away for nothing at season’s end.

Speaking to Sport1, Virkus said: “We have to accept that there are even bigger clubs where Marcus might go.

“The fact that players will leave us for free is not a positive situation and I am not going to sugar-coat this.”

Losing Thuram, especially without generating a fee, will be a bitter pill to swallow at Gladbach. However, their failure to tie him down to a new deal or cash in while they still could has prompted the situation.

English sides scrambling for Thuram

Indeed, FootMercato previously reported Chelsea tabled an offer that would’ve seen Thuram move to London for a cut-price fee during January.

Gladbach refused, believing the added prize money they’d potentially receive through Thuram’s goals firing them into Europe next season would outweigh the small transfer fee.

Elsewhere, Man Utd were heavily linked in the run-up to the winter window. German outlet BILD even reported Old Trafford was his preferred destination over the likes of Aston Villa and Newcastle.

Yet the plot thickened when it emerged United did not have money to spend in the winter window. As such, they shelved their striker search until the summer and instead plucked Weghorst on a six-month loan.

Since the January deadline passed, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham have been mentioned. Clearly, the idea of signing a player the calibre of Thuram without having to pay fee holds mass appeal.

From the continent, Inter Milan and Barcelona appear to be the primary competition for the English sides.

Lilian Thuram previously indicated he’d be on board with his son moving to the Camp Nou where Lilian played between 2006-08.

Gazzetta dello Sport stated Inter spoke with Thuram and his camp in January and a €5m-a-year deal remains on the table.

Elsewhere, FC Inter News claimed late last week Newcastle and Aston Villa had both opened dialogue over a free agent swoop.

Where Thuram will end up next season isn’t yet clear, though what is apparent is that he won’t remain in Monchengladbach.

READ MORE: Gary Neville points finger at ‘what scares Man Utd fans most’ as ‘big charade’ masks Glazers real intentions