Wednesday 17 January 2018

Manchester United suffer Andrea Belotti setback as Jose Mourinho's three-man striker shortlist is cut to one

Belotti has an €100m release clause. Getty
Belotti has an €100m release clause. Getty

Jack Austin

Manchester United have been dealt yet another setback in their search for a new striker as Torino insist they are planning to keep Andrea Belotti for next season.

Jose Mourinho had been hoping to persuade Romelu Lukaku to join him at Old Trafford but was rebuffed in favour of a return to Chelsea and now Belotti looks set to stay where he is.

The 23-year-old has a £87m release clause and was on United’s shortlist for a new goalscoring, having netted 26 Serie A goals last season.

AC Milan are also interested in Belotti as his release clause from the contract he signed in December only applies to clubs from abroad, and not fellow Serie A sides.

If United want Belotti, they must trigger his release clause in its entirety, as club president Urbano Cairo insisted they will not negotiate selling their star striker.

“I'm not thinking about selling Belotti,” he said to Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Belotti is my player, we only renewed his contract recently. Our objective is to keep him.

“After that, there is a release clause that would make me obliged to sell him, providing someone came in with €100m from abroad.

“Let's see. I haven't talked to him yet because he is currently with the national team. We will see how things go, but our intention would be to keep him.”

The news comes less than 24 hours after The Independent revealed Lukaku has agreed to join Chelsea over United in a deal worth more than £80m.

United made an enquiry last week and, while they were not given a firm “no”, the Old Trafford club were told that a deal with Chelsea is very close.

With those two ruled out, a deal for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata looks the most likely route Mourinho will look to go down.

Morata scored 20 goals for the club last season but will not win a starting place at the Bernabeu with Cristiano Ronaldo moving into a more central attacking position and Real also looking to add Kylian Mbappe.

Real Madrid are understood to want around £78m for the Spaniard as United are finding it increasingly difficult to find any value in the striker market, with clubs inflating their asking prices give the Red Devils’ superior wealth.

Independent News Service

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