Romano reveals details of ‘strange’ Man Utd sale as Red Devils ‘advance in talks’ for striker

Joe Williams
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag on England
Erik ten Hag during the FA Cup final.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has revealed the “strange structure” of the deal to sell Donny van de Beek to Girona after a fee was “agreed” over the weekend.

The Red Devils will have to offload a number of players over the summer transfer window in order to boost their reported £50m budget under new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Man Utd are likely to sell Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood over the summer and there are rumours that they are open to offers for most of their squad in an attempt to revamp Erik ten Hag’s side for next season.

One player who has been on the outskirts of Ten Hag’s squad for a while is Van de Beek with the Netherlands international struggling through injuries and loss of form during his time at Old Trafford.

Man Utd brought the Dutchman to the Premier League club in 2020 in a deal worth around £40m but Van de Beek has only made 62 appearances in that time and has had unsuccessful loan spells at Everton and Eintracht Frankfurt in between.

And now Man Utd have agreed a fee for Van de Beek to leave Old Trafford permanently for Spanish side Girona – who qualified for the Champions League last term – but Romano has explained the “strange structure” of the potential transfer.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Manchester United are set to sell Donny van de Beek to Girona. The Dutch midfielder was also a target for Girona back in the January transfer window, but it wasn’t possible at that time as he decided to join Eintracht Frankfurt on loan. However, Girona are still there and have now agreed a deal with Manchester United.

“Many of you have been asking me about the strange structure of this deal, because it’s been reported that the initial fee will be just €500,000. This would obviously be an incredibly cheap fee for Van de Beek, but the reality is different.

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“For now, this is a potential fee as it’s still subject to a personal agreement with Van de Beek and on the player passing a medical. Girona have an agreement with Man United but there are still some steps, and early next week we should know more. As for the fee, it is €500k initially, but there is a big structure of add-ons. There would be around €4-5m paid to Man United if Van de Beek plays a certain number of games, and this is expected to be quite an easy number. If he achieves more in his time at Girona it could even end up being around €10-15m.”

Man Utd are also pursuing two Dutch players in the form of Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee and Bayern Munich’s Matthijs De Ligt and Romano has brought an update on the Red Devils’ interest in the duo.

Romano added: “Staying with Dutch players and Man United, I can confirm that Joshua Zirkzee remains an important target, he’s high on their list. Between Friday and Saturday there were new contacts between United and the agents of Zirkzee. So, what’s the situation? We know Zirkzee has been on United’s list and that the €40m release clause is there – it’s valid until August, so United have time, but the internal decision will be crucial.

“United are now advancing in talks with Zirkzee and his agent. Zirkzee already reached an agreement with AC Milan, and Man United would match that proposal with similar numbers, but Milan don’t want to pay the big commission, while United are prepared to meet that number.

“Erik ten Hag wants the player and has been calling Zirkzee on a regular basis, but then other key figures at Old Trafford will also have to decide, such as key figures deciding on transfers like Dan Ashworth, Jason Wilcox and Christopher Vivell. So, the internal discussion is ongoing, and it’s up to them now to decide if they want to proceed with Zirkzee or go for another player.

“Finally on United, negotiations continue for Matthijs de Ligt between all parties involved. There’s still no substantial update but negotiations are ongoing, and going well. De Ligt has only approved Man United as the club are in talks with his agent, I’m not aware of contacts with any other clubs now, despite some rumours about PSG.”