Manchester United will ramp up their attempts to reignite their summer transfer window activity by scouting Belgium international Leander Dendoncker on Friday [28 July] ahead of a potential bid. The 22-year-old is expected to start for champions Anderlecht when they begin the defence of their Pro League title against Antwerp, with representatives from AC Milan and Red Bull Leipzig also expected to attend the opening game of the new campaign.
De Morgen understand Rene Weiler's team value the holding midfielder at €38m (£33.99m, $44.48m) but that an offer of €25m would likely test their resolve. Dendoncker came through the club's youth setup after joining them in 2009 and has since gone on to make over a century of appearances for the club, winning his first major honour last term as Anderlecht romped to the title.
Jose Mourinho has reportedly placed Dendoncker, who headed home a late equaliser when Anderlecht and United met in the Europa League quarter-final first leg in April, high on his transfer wishlist as he looks to add steel to his midfield.
Chelsea's Nemanja Matic and Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier have both been targetted but a deal for Dendoncker would be easier to complete as this would avoid having to negotiate with a rival Premier League side.
The United boss may even be able to use summer signing Romelu Lukaku - a former Anderlecht cohort and fellow Belgian international - to tempt him to Old Trafford if there is any competition for his signature.
Big-spending Milan and Leipzig - who have reportedly begun attempts to replace Liverpool-bound Naby Keita - are among those clubs to have shown an interest. In May, Everton were linked with a £15m move for Dendoncker but the acquisition of Michael Keane from Burnley may have curtailed any further interest.
Nevertheless, the deal potentially hinges on United caving to Anderlecht's astronomical valuation of a player who has made just two senior appearances for Belgium and made just four outings in the Champions League - including twice against Arsenal. Mourinho has this week bemoaned the money which has engulfed the transfer window despite having spent a combined £115m on bringing Lukaku and defender Victor Lindelof to the club.
"We spent big money on a striker because, with strikers, you either spend or you don't get," Mourinho said, according to The Daily Mail. "We spent because of what happened to Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) and we cannot allow ourselves to be without an important, strong striker for the first six months of the season."
"I don't think it kills football as the big clubs will always have the potential to produce this kind of money and not to be in problems. "The problem is with the other group, which is a big group. The other one is where you have a hundred transfers and that is the dangerous area of the market. That's what worries me a little bit because now we speak about £30m, £40m, £50m in such an easy way."