Manchester United have been curiously linked with AC Milan attacking midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, who has started the 2020/21 campaign with a combined total of eight goals and assists in eight games.
Calhanoglu joined Milan in the summer of 2017 but is now in the final year of his contract at San Siro and gossip from Italy suggests that talks over a new deal to keep him there have stalled.
Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that the 26-year-old Turkey international isn’t pleased with the terms Milan are offering at the equivalent of £54,000 per week. Although it is said that further talks with Calhanoglu’s representatives will soon take place, Gazzetta have named United among several clubs supposedly showing interest in the player as a result of the uncertainty.
It is dubiously claimed that United are willing to offer Calhanoglu a five-year contract on better terms than he is currently on with the Rossoneri.
It is said the player’s preference is to stay in Italy with Milan, however. That, as well as the context of an expiring contract, is a major red flag with regard to the United claims.
It is a known and commonly used tactic for agents and representatives to leak ‘interest’ in their client to media outlets during contract negotiations. The intention is usually to pressure the player’s existing club into offering a better deal because there is a threat of leaving.
The suggestions that Calhanoglu’s camp are unhappy with the numbers currently on the table from Milan would feed into the theory that that is what is happening here, particularly if, as also reported in this instance, the player actually has no desire to move on.
United’s name has been used in such a way many times before, probably most notably when Sergio Ramos was heavily linked with a switch to Old Trafford in the summer of 2015, only to wind up signing an improved contract at Real Madrid soon afterwards.
It is also worth noting that an offer for Calhanoglu doesn’t make sense for United. The only part of the current squad that is well stocked with options is attacking midfield following the captures of Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek over the last 12 months. Paul Pogba’s contract has also been extended to 2022 and talks over a new longer term deal are expected.
Instead, United’s priorities in the transfer market over the next year or so are a centre-back, striker and winger, with Jadon Sancho still very much on the radar despite the highly publicised failed attempts to sign him during the summer transfer window.