Manchester United are believed to be furious with Chelsea for leaking word of their failed £55m offer for Mason Mount.
The England international has made clear that he wants to leave his boyhood club and has no intention of signing an extension to a contract that will expire next year.
Faced with losing one of their prize assets for nothing, Chelsea have taken the decision to sell Mount to one of their key rivals, but continue to drive a hard bargain.
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They were hopeful that their third offer, submitted yesterday, would be accepted but Chelsea insist that a bid of £50m plus £5m in add-ons is still short of their valuation.
Chelsea have indicated that a bid of £58m plus £7m in add-ons would be enough for them to give Mount the green light to head to Old Trafford, and have suggested a face-to-face meeting with United in an effort to end the deadlock.
United football director John Murtough has been left in an unenviable position they United have made clear they do not what to overpay for a player who would be available on a free next summer, but risks upsetting Erik ten Hag who wants Mount as his No.1 midfield target.
According the MEN, Man United have been left frustrated by Chelsea’s behaviour during discussions, and especially irked by the way they have leaked information of failed bids to the media.
Despite United’s determination to complete the deal, Murtough’s hands are reported to be ‘tied’ given the tight budget under which the club is operating this summer and simply caving to Chelsea’s demands isn’t an option.
Should United decline Chelsea’s invitation for talks, the Red Devils will pursue other midfield targets with Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, also wanted by Chelsea, firmly on their radar.
United also maintain interest in West Ham captain Declan Rice but they are said to be outsiders in a race headed by Arsenal and Manchester City.