Man Utd face paying £22m extra for Benjamin Sesko and have themselves to blame

Manchester United may have to pay a £22million premium for Benjamin Sesko compared to the fee they could have signed him for in January.

Manchester United face paying £22million more for Benjamin Sesko than they will have six months ago if they firm up their interest in the striker with a summer approach. The Slovenian centre-forward is a long-time target for United and his agent was spotted at Old Trafford last weekend.

Amid links to both United and Arsenal, his representative Elvis Basanovic was in the directors’ box as the Gunners won 1-0 in Manchester at the weekend. The player is on the radar of both Premier League giants ahead of the summer transfer window.

The Red Devils had enquired about Sesko 12 months ago but opted to sign Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta instead for £72million. United also showed interest in the RB Leipzig No.9 in January when they could have signed him for £43m.

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And the Daily Mail report his release clause has risen to £56m since then. But given the exact figure is determined by playing time, goals and assists, the fee required to get him out of Leipzig could rise to £65m by the time the transfer window opens.

Leipzig conclude their Bundesliga season against Eintracht Frankfurt this Saturday and will finish fourth, qualifying for next year’s Champions League, no matter what the result.

Sesko, 20, has scored 17 goals and provided two assists in 41 appearances so far despite only amassing 1,966 minutes which is the equivalent of less than 22 full 90-minute matches.

RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

The Slovenia international is in red-hot form and has scored in all of his last six matches in Germany’s top division. Yet if United want to beat Arsenal to Sesko’s signature, they potentially face paying £22m more than they could’ve signed him for in January.

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A £65m fee could prove prohibitive for the Red Devils due to strict financial regulations with which they must comply. They are also on the lookout for centre-backs and midfielders as they look transform a squad that has performed below expectations.

Arsenal is one of the other clubs keens on Sesko but he is not their only target. Sporting frontman Viktor Gyokeres, formerly of Coventry in the Championship, is another option as is Newcastle’s Alexander Isak who has 20 Premier League goals this season.

Asked about potentially signing a striker in January, Arteta insisted: “Stick behind the ones that we have. They are incredibly good. That’s exactly what they need. Then they feel important and supported. With their attitude, they don’t deserve anything different.”

But that attitude is set to change this summer as the Spaniard looks to oversee a new period of success and silverware at the Emirates. After falling short in the Premier League title race last year, they have taken this year’s challenge to the final day and could still lift their first title since 2004.

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That’s despite not having a player with more than 16 league goals this season. Man City’s leading goalscorer, by contrast, is Erling Haaland on 27.

Arsenal is looking for an out-and-out goalscorer to help them win regular trophies while Man United are seeking a rebuild just to get back into contention under new decision-makers Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS.

United have scored just 52 times in 37 league games this season compared to Arsenal’s 89. Bruno Fernandes (10) is their only player to hit double figures and one of very few players to emerge from this season with any credit to his name.

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