Manchester United join AS Roma in race for Santos striker Marcos Leonardo

Manchester United have registered a late interest in Marcos Leonardo as they look to beat Serie A side AS Roma to the Santos striker’s signature.

Marcos Leonardo SANTOS

Marcos Leonardo, 20, was recently in talks to join Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma on a permanent deal from Santos. However, the Brazilian outfit opposed the transfer as they battle to avoid relegation this term. As a result, Roma have been working hard behind the scenes on an agreement for the youngster’s move to become official in January 2024.

But the Giallorossi must hurry up to close the operation because Manchester United have recently turned their attention to securing the Santos striker’s signature. To that end, the Red Devils are reportedly proposing to offer €20m + €5m in bonuses to sign Leonardo.

Since coming through the youth ranks at Santos, Leonardo has scored 49 goals in 151 appearances in all competitions.

Erik ten Hag wants a striker to compete with Rasmus Hojlund

Manchester United have recorded just one goal in the first two games and that came from centre-back Raphael Varane’s header. They splashed £72million to sign Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta but he is yet to make his debut for the Red Devils after suffering a slight back injury in pre-season training for his former club.

In Hojlund’s absence, Erik ten Hag has used Marcus Rashford through the middle as a No.9 in the first two games, with Antony and Alejandro Garnacho supporting him from the wide areas. Rashford prefers playing out wide and is often effective operating off the left, but due to a lack of options at his disposal, Ten Hag’s hands have been tied.

And, with Anthony Martial’s future up in the air, the Dutch tactician wants to sign a new striker before the transfer window closes down at the end of this month. Santos’ Marcos Leonardo has emerged as a potential target for Man United.

Leonardo enjoyed a fantastic year with Santos, contributing 16 goals and four assists in 32 appearances across all competitions. The striker also recently caught the eye playing for Brazil at the Under-20 World Cup, where he registered five goals and an assist in five appearances.

As demonstrated by his quality in front of goal, Leonardo would become a good backup for Hojlund. He is a young striker with a terrific work rate and speed, which could make the Brazilian a smart fit in Ten Hag’s system at Man United. Thus, the Red Devils must do everything possible to beat Roma to his signature.

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