Transfer Gossip: ‘Agreed’ deal sees Man Utd fend off Real Madrid for £60m striker; Man City to replace ageing favourite with Chelsea star

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag manages Man Utd during Premier League game

An agreed deal has put Man Utd front and centre for a £60m striker signing, while Man City hope a Chelsea star can replace a soon-to-be free agent and an audacious Aston Villa move is prompting a panicked response – all in Friday’s Transfer Gossip.


The Red Devils are on pole position for the £60m transfer of Atalanta hotshot Rasmus Hojlund after an ‘agreed’ deal saw Real Madrid pull back, per reports.

Man Utd’s primary focus this summer is signing a high class centre-forward. A box-to-box midfielder and attacking upgrade at right-back are also wanted, though the striker move will take precedence.

Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen are understood to be United’s preferred options. However, the respective costs of those deals is a factor that cannot be ignored, even for a club like Man Utd.

Alternative targets include Goncalo Ramos, Randal Kolo Muani, Mohammed Kudus and Rasmus Hojlund. Regarding the latter, Danish outlet BT recently revealed Man Utd and Real Madrid had made matching moves.

Indeed, it was reported both sides submitted a formal ‘letter of interest’ to Atalanta. In essence, United and Real had officially signalled their interest in the 20-year-old Hojlund.

The Dane is earning rave reviews for his displays this term and hit the headlines during the last international break. Five goals in two matches against Finland and Kazakhstan certainly caught the eye.

Now, a fresh update from the Mirror has put the ball in Man Utd’s court after Real Madrid seemingly gave way.

The newspaper reported Karim Benzema has ‘agreed’ a one-year extension that’ll see the Ballon d’Or holder extend his stay in Madrid.

As such, their plans to sign a striker this summer are seemingly on hold. What’s more, Brazilian phenom Endrick will link up with Madrid in 2024 and despite the fact he’ll only be 18 at the time, there’s already hopes he can slot straight into the starting eleven.

As such, Man Utd have ‘taken the lead’ by default for Hojlund who the Daily Mail previously signalled will cost around £60m.

Whether they act on their interest will likely hinge on whether moves for Kane or Osimhen are deemed unworkable. Neither Tottenham or Napoli wish to sell their star strikers.


Pep Guardiola might not have far to look to find his Ilkay Gundogan replacement, with Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic in his sights, per a report.

Gundogan, 32, has been as reliable as they come since arriving at Man City back in 2016. The German is one of a select few who’ve been in place throughout the entire Guardiola era. However, his time at the Etihad may come to a close this summer.

Gundogan is out of contract at season’s end and has strong interest from Barcelona in the event he leaves on a free.

The classy midfielder does have an offer to remain at Man City and relations between the player and club remain positive. However, an exit this summer is looking an increasingly probable prospect.

Now, according to GiveMeSport, Man City will turn to Chelsea and specifically Mateo Kovacic if requiring a replacement.

The 28-year-old Croatian is poised to enter the final year of his deal with Chelsea this summer. Given the Blues’ need to balance the books in the coming years, Chelsea will reportedly refuse to let any player leave as a free agent.

As such, Blues stars who are poised to enter the last 12 months of their deals now have two options – sign a new contract or be sold.

Kovacic and Mason Mount are two high profile players who fall into that category. Liverpool might benefit in the case of Mount, and per GMS, it could be City who pluck Kovacic.

Aiding City’s hopes is the notion Chelsea are highly unlikely to have any European football next season, never mind Champions League.

The fact there’s also no permanent manager in place to explain a vision for Kovacic in west London is also cited.


Elsewhere, an audacious Aston Villa move for Spain international Pau Torres is prompting talk of a hurried new contract at Villarreal, per a report.

Unai Emery has worked wonders since succeeding Steven Gerrard at Villa Park. Villa were 16th when Emery took charge, though now look on course for European qualification.

Emery will be backed in the market this summer and per Football Insider, Villarreal’s Pau Torres is in his sights.

Emery knows the 26-year-old centre-half well through his own time at Villarreal. FI report the chances of Torres leaving this summer are increasing, though in lieu of Villa’s interest, the Spanish side are readying a new and improved contract.

Torres is out of contract at the end of next season. As such, cashing in this summer would make sense if the defender won’t commit to fresh terms.

Much will therefore depend on what terms Villarreal put to Torres. If they’re not to his liking, Emery may yet forge a reunion at Villa Park.

Prior reports out of Spain have claimed Torres is valued around the €50m (£44.1m) mark. A fee of that size would set Aston Villa’s new transfer record. The current record holder is Emiliano Buendia (£38m including add-ons).