Manchester United are continuing talks with Leicester over a possible transfer for Harry Maguire but the clubs remain apart in their valuation.
The MEN understands United are prepared to make Maguire, 26, the most expensive defender in the world yet are still short of meeting Leicester’s £90million asking price.
United had a £70m bid rejected for Maguire two weeks ago and have prioritised signing the centre-backafter Newcastle demanded £50m for the midfielder Sean Longstaff.
The MEN revealed earlier this month Sir Alex Ferguson wants United to sign Maguire and is mystified as to why they did not make an offer for him sooner, despite Maguire’s Nations League participation with England last month.
The MEN also reported United made a decision to sign a central defender at the end of June and the clock is ticking as the Premier League window closes on August 8.
Maguire could figure for Leicester in their first pre-season friendly at Scunthorpe this evening, having trained with Brendan Rodgers’ squad in Evian, France last week.
United sources claimed last summer they were prepared to pay £100m for the right profile of defender, citing Raphael Varane of Real Madrid as an example, but balked at Leicester’s £75m valuation of Maguire.
However, United endured their worst top-flight defensive season since 1978-79, conceding 54 Premier League goals, and belatedly decided a centre half is essential. Maguire is contracted to Leicester until 2023.
Manchester City are also interested as they consider a replacement for Vincent Kompany but are prepared to walk away from their pursuit of Maguire.
Agency sources have told the MEN United do not want to be ‘outbid’ for targets and City have previously ended their interest in players over high asking prices. Alexis Sanchez and Fred were both tracked by City but ended up joining United.