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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Manchester United 'were interested' in Real Madrid's Morata before completing Lukaku deal

Jose Mourinho reveals it was a difference between United's offer and Madrid's asking price that scuppered the deal.

Jose Mourinho addresses the media during Manchester United's pre-season tour of the United States. Robyn Beck / AFP
Jose Mourinho addresses the media during Manchester United's pre-season tour of the United States. Robyn Beck / AFP

Jose Mourinho has said Manchester United were in talks with Real Madrid to sign Alvaro Morata but the two sides "didn't reach an agreement" over the fee for the Spanish striker.

Mourinho had made the signing of a new centre-forward his top priority this summer following the lengthy injury layoff - and subsequent release - of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku was signed from Everton last week for an initial £75 million (Dh360.7m) to fill the void, but Mourinho has revealed how United were initially in talks over signing Morata. It is understood that United had offered in the region of €70m (Dh295m), but Madrid were holding out for closer to €90m.

"It's not my position to talk about a player who isn't in my team - and nor about a Real Madrid player. We were interested. That's obvious, it was public knowledge but we didn't reach an economic agreement. It's understandable," Mourinho said from United's training camp at UCLA in Los Angeles ahead of the pre-season firiendly with LA Galaxy on Sunday.

"Real Madrid are well within their rights to ask whatever fee they want for their players. It's not for us to put a price on a Real Madrid player. I cannot criticize Real Madrid and nor can I criticize the board at United.

"The directors made an offer which they felt was fair but even so, we didn't reach an agreement."

Premier League rivals Chelsea are also being credited with an interest in Morata as manager Antonio Conte seeks to find his own new centre-forward after telling Diego Costa he is no longer part of his plans.

However, recent reports have claimed Morata is now leaning towards staying with Madrid following the collapsed move to United.

Chelsea are also thought to be interested in Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.