According to the Sun, Manchester United are eyeing a move for Hoffenheim midfielder Christoph Baumgartner.
Baumgartner is who might be not be familiar to a lot of United fans yet.
So here is a little look at what we know so far about the 21-year-old, before United’s interest gets serious…
1) Baumgartner joined Hoffenheim’s academy in 2017 and has risen through the ranks to the first team. He made his senior debut for the club in May 2019 against Werder Bremen.
2) He has made 45 Bundesliga appearances in total, as well as six in the Europa League. This season he has five goals and seven assists from 25 appearances across all competitions.
3) Baumgartner has played five times for Austria’s senior side, finding the back of the net twice.
4) The 21-year-old is a right-footed attacking midfielder, but his versatility means he can play in a number of different roles. He can play deeper in midfield and also from the left.
5) He averages 1.4 dribbles per league game. This is the second-most in the Hoffenheim squad, and no United midfielder is managing more this season. It would place him joint-third among United’s players, behind only rapid forwards Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
£16m asking price?
The report claims that the current asking price for the midfielder is £16 million.
Apparently, his contract runs until 2023 and United are more likely to bid in the summer than this month.
But Hoffenheim have driven hard bargains with Premier League clubs before, most notably when getting £40 million out of Newcastle United for Joelinton.
If he keeps impressing, that asking price only looks set to rise as time goes on.
What they say
Given Baumgartner’s preference to play as a number ten in a 4-2-3-1 system, he has been compared to Michael Ballack and Kai Havertz.
“(He) is an extremely talented player with strong technical skills and a good sense for space in attack,” said Hoffenheim sporting director Alexander Rosen.
“As a result, he always develops solutions in tight game situations and is also dangerous around goal.”
If United did swoop for him, they’d hope he could adjust better to the demands of the Premier League than Havertz has.
With question marks over the futures of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba, United might need a creative midfielder to flesh out the squad – without stepping too much on Donny van de Beek’s toes.
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