According to the Mirror, Manchester United have made an increased £28 million move for Borussia Dortmund star Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Indeed, reports suggest the Red Devils have upped the ante in their attempts to land the Armenian midfielder with a significantly improved second offer.
There is increasing confidence that a deal for the 27-year-old – who laid on 82 key passes for his Bundesliga team-mates during the season just gone – will be agreed and United’s improved bid only serves to empthasize the notion that he is a key target for Mourinho this summer.
As the report states, the club’s determination to land Mkhitaryan for the newly appointed manager is reflected in the size of their follow-up bid and quick response to having their initial £19 million offer knocked back by Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund side.
This news follows promising quotes from Mkhitaryan’s agent Mino Raiola, who suggested Manchester United would be the player’s ‘dream club’. “We have both taken very different views and fight for them like lions,” Raiola told German news outlet Bild, when discussing a potential Old Trafford switch for his client.
“(Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim) Watzke walks 180 degrees into one direction, and I, 180 degrees into the other,” he continued, “but even though it does not look like it right now, I still hope for a sensible solution.”
“Such an offer to join Manchester United might only come once in a lifetime for a player and nobody can guarantee us that the door will still be open for Micki next season. Manchester are Micki’s dream club, he wants to join them by any means.”
This certainly sounds like a deal that could materialize as the summer transfer window progresses. With United and the player himself seemingly keen on striking a deal, the final hurdle comes down agreeing a fee with his current club.
However, considering Dortmund have already sold two of their key players – the departure of Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gundogan were announced before the transfer window has even opened – they will naturally be reluctant to part ways with the Armenian international.
£28 millions seems a fair price to pay for the man who recorded more assists than any other player in the German Bundesliga last season. Nonetheless, one gets the feeling the club will have to stump up a lot more cash if we’re to see Mkhitaryan in a Manchester United shirt next term.
In other news, United target Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced his decision retire from international football after Euro 2016, bringing an end to an era in which the veteran striker has won 115 caps for his country, scoring an almighty 62 goals.
“The last game (at Euro 2016) will be my last for Sweden , so I hope it will not be tomorrow,” he told the press in France. “I am very proud of what I have achieved and will always bring the Swedish flag with me.”
Ibrahimovic’s club future remains in doubt, having left Paris Saint Germain at the end of his contract with the club. However, Jose Mourinho is believed to be leading the race for his signature.
The mercurial striker was initially named in Sweden’s squad to play at the Rio Olympics later this summer, meaning that he would miss the start of the Premier League season. However, his impending retirement means this will no longer be the case.
It is, therefore, believed that the 34-year-old’s international retirement paves the way for him to sign for Manchester United, before experiencing a full pre-season with the Old Trafford outfit.
Despite playing the entirety of his country’s opening two games in France this summer, Zlatan is yet to find the back of the net. If Sweden are to face elimination from the tournament against Belgium this afternoon, United fans will no doubt be hoping the maverick striker signs off from international duty in style.
Finally, Tyler Blackett could be set to leave Old Trafford this summer – with a loan move to Reading being touted by the press. According to latest reports, the 22-year-old defender is readying a move to the Madjeski Stadium, with a view to linking up with ex-United defender Jaap Stam.
Blackett fell down the pecking order at Old Trafford last term after moving on loan to Celtic, and has seen the likes of Paddy McNair, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Timothy Fosu-Mensah jump ahead of him in the first-team queue.
He made just four starts in Scotland, featuring in just three league games, after failing to feature in a single match for the Red Devils during the 2016/17 campaign. In truth, it was a bleak season for the youngster, who’s progression has been halted as a consequence.
After struggling for game time in Louis van Gaal’s second season – despite proving a breath of fresh air throughout the Dutchman’s debut campaign – Blackett is unlikely to be afforded a run in the first team under Jose Mourinho, especially considering the recent arrival of Eric Bailly.
For the youngster, a loan move to Reading could be just what is needed to re-establish himself as the bright young talent he was once considered, for a team that will be hoping to fight for promotion to the top flight next term.
This is unlikely to be the last time that Stam uses his Old Trafford links to serve a purpose in his new role as Reading boss. Should Blackett make the move to Berkshire, he is likely to be followed by at least one other of his team-mates.
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