Woodward, Man Utd offered prolific Italy striker in tempting cut-price deal

James Marshment

Manchester United have been contacted by intermediaries representing Andrea Belotti to offer them the chance to sign the free-scoring Torino striker in a cut-price deal.

The Italy hitman was high on United’s list of striker targets in summer 2017, but the club were put off by his €100m asking price and instead signed Romelu Lukaku instead.

United were again linked with a move for Belotti in January 2018 as they sought a long-term replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but again Torino’s demands appeared to put them off.

However, reports in Italy claim it could be a case of third-time lucky for United and Belotti with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward contacted by agents associated with the player to ask if they would still be interested in a deal.

The 26-year-old has netted 15 times this season and while he remains an important player for the Serie A side, financial needs dictates they are now looking to cash in on their prized asset.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the lookout for another striker to compliment Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood in attack and efforts to sign Odion Ighalo – who has impressed while on loan – have been complicated somewhat by claims he would need to take a massive pay-cut and could be tempted by a move elsewhere, with Chelsea surprinsingly mentioned as suitors.

However, Calciomercato claims United could find a solution in Belotti, with intermediaries contacting Woodward to gauge his interest.

The striker remains contacted to the Serie A side until 2022 so he will retain some value to Torino, but it’s believed they could look to sell for around €70million (£61.1m) – giving Woodward and Solskjaer something to ponder.

However, as per the report, United are yet to give positive feedback on the potential deal and appear focused on signing other transfer targets instead, with Jadon Sancho said to be at the top of their wishlist and reports on Wednesday morning claiming they were also looking at an RB Leipzig star to bring in as Harry Maguire’s partner at the heart of defence.

 

Belotti has scored an impressive 85 goals in 179 appearances for Torino – a strike-rate not too far short of a goal every other game and also has nine in 27 for the Italian national side.

But he has ambitions of playing at a higher level and knows Torino can only offer him so much, which together with his unwilliness to sign a new deal with the club, means they will reluctantly decide to cash in on the striker this summer.

Much of United’s plans could depend on  Harry Kane but, having been told he prefers a move elsewhere, they will retain hope of a deal with one factor tipped to ease the scales back in their favour.