Manchester United tried to sign Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic in the winter transfer window, according to a new report from Italy.
The Old Lady are bracing themselves for a summer raid on their squad after failing to qualify for the Champions League and the Serbian is one of the top names in demand.
Vlahovic joined Juve for €81 million in January 2022. His 18-month stint in Turin has been something of a damp squib but at 23, many big clubs are undeterred, presumably putting it down to his being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Having scored 49 goals in 108 games for Fiorentina, much was expected at the Allianz Stadium, but so far he has managed just 23 in 63 games, “often nervous, held back by physical problems and an annoying groin injury that held back his rise,” as Calciomercato.com notes.
The outlet continues: “During the winter, agent Darko Ristic had received offers from Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United , all rejected to the sender.
“In the coming weeks, however, things could change and the buyer could change too. Bayern Munich are making a positive move.”
Calciomercato goes on to claim that talks have begun between the two clubs, with Bayern offering €60 million but Juve holding out for €80m.
Previous reports have suggested that Vlahovic remains on United’s shortlist but it is fair to say that the weight of reporting indicates he is not at the top of that list.
Spurs’ Harry Kane and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen are widely believed to be the top targets, with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo-Muani, Benfica’s Gonçalo Ramos and Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund attracting many more column inches than the 23-year-old Serbian.
However, compared to all those other options, even at a top price of €80m, Vlahovic arguably represents better value for money than the €100m-plus prices mooted for all the other shortlisters and the €65m reported asking price for the relatively raw and inexperienced Hojlund. Also, if it is true that the club did try to sign him in January, then he must be an approved Ten Hag target.
A decision must be made soon. The Red Devils could find that Bayern have snapped up the Juventus star by the time they establish whether to pursue him themselves.
However, if Bayern do make an early move, it would take them out of the running for Kane, Osimhen and Kolo Muani, with all of whom they have been linked. So in that sense, United might decide to let it run its course.
With the Glazer family dragging out the sale of United, the transfer budget is an unknown quantity, although a total of around €120m has been suggested. If that is the case, then Vlahovic and Hojlund might be the only options that United can afford this summer.
A recent report suggested that an exchange between Vlahovic and Anthony Martial could be on the cards, but the Frenchman’s recent injury will almost certainly have put paid to that remote possibility.