Manchester United left stunned by Newcastle’s £50m asking price for Sean Longstaff

Although United recognise they are operating in an inflated market and there is a premium on young British players, there is some concern that there is almost an additional tax on players they are interested in signing.

Solskjaer stressed on Wednesday that United will not be held to ransom and want “the right players at the right prices”, but they are likely to have to make Harry Maguire the world’s most expensive defender if they are to prise him away from Leicester City, which has become the subject of their focus of late.

Leicester are demanding £90m for the England centre-back but United are hoping to strike a deal around the £75m figure that Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk last year. Manchester City are also interested in Maguire but believe the market rate for the defender is around £60m and are refusing to be drawn into a bidding war, which clears the way for United.

United are thought to be prioritising the Maguire deal and the situation involving Romelu Lukaku at the moment. Piero Ausilio, Inter Milan’s sporting director, is understood to have flown to London for talks with United officials on Thursday as the Italian giants bid to thrash out a deal for the wantaway Belgium striker.

Lukaku, and fellow forward Anthony Martial, missed United’s open training session in front of 12,000 fans at the Waca stadium in Perth on Thursday in order to do some alternative work in the gym. Both had been involved in the morning training session.

Inter are proposing an initial two-year loan worth about £9m with an obligation to buy at the end of that term for a further £53.7m but United want a straight cash deal. Inter’s hopes of being able to meet United’s £75m valuation are still likely to hinge on them offloading Argentina striker Mauro Icardi, who is attracting interest from Juventus.

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