Have Manchester United overpaid for players this summer, this is a more than valid question. United have shelled out around £100 million so far and could be about to spend another £65 million.
After reports yesterday that United were close to agreeing a deal with Atalanta forward Rasmus Hojlund, with Alfredo Pedulla, who has been superb for United news this summer, saying that the aim of the two clubs is to close the deal by today or tomorrow, there have been concerns United have overpaid.
The question has turned to, from concerned United fans, are the Old Trafford club overpaying for players this summer or has United’s sporting director, John Murtough done a great job this summer.
Mount and Onana deals
When United had turned their attention to Mason Mount, following a long drawn-out and ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong, Chelsea had seemingly valued the midfielder at around £80 million according to the Daily Mail.
When United entered the fray and began negotiations the Blues seemingly softened that stance to £70 million. After weeks of tough negotiation, where three offers were made and rejected, United agreed a fee with Chelsea for Mount for an initial £55 million plus £5 million in add-ons according to ESPN.
That is superb negotiations from United to get the price down to that point, saving around £25 million from the London club’s original price tag.
For Andre Onana, the gap in valuation wasn’t that big. Inter Milan originally demanded a fee of £51 million for the former Cameroon international, but that price came down. United eventually agreed a fee of £43 million plus an additional £4 million in add-ons according to The Athletic, not a huge reduction in price but a reduction nonetheless.
It should also be mentioned, it is unclear how easy these add-ons are to achieve in the Onana deal, so United could well have saved more money on the deal.
Are United overpaying for Hojlund?
With United reportedly close to agreeing a fee with Atalanta for the Dane for around €70 million plus €5 million in add-ons according to Santi Aouna, the question has become have United reverted to type.
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Well if The Athletic are to be believed, United have played a blinder, after the Italian side reportedly valued Houjlund at £86 million. However, Fabrizio Romano has said Atalanta are demanding €70 million, it is unclear what the final figure is but it seems United have slightly overpaid for the 20-year-old if they sign the forward.
But, the conversation then becomes whether the need of the team outweighs the risk of overpaying. It’s no secret United are desperate for a striker, and Hojlund is the man that Ten Hag wants, so overpaying may well be worth it.
If, hypothetically, United win the league or the European Cup with Hojlund at the heart of that success, nobody would bat an eye. The need of the team makes the risk worthwhile.
So, John Murtough, despite being in a ridiculously tough position with the takeover showing no sign of ending, has done a good job this summer. He can elevate that good to a great job if he can shift the deadwood and bring the net spent down to a level where they won’t be in FFP (Financial Fair Play) trouble.