Manchester United sent scout Marcel Bout to watch Real Madrid ace Martin Odegaard, currently on loan at Real Sociedad, on Saturday. The Red Devils send scouts to watch various players every week but this one seems like a much bigger mission.
Bout is not a scout who is sent to watch just any old transfer target.
The 57-year-old was entrusted with casting his eye over Erling Braut Haaland in his final match for Red Bull Salzburg which led to boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer flying out to meet the teenager.
Ultimately, the young Norwegian opted to move to Borussia Dortmund ahead of United.
However, head of global scouting Bout must have given positive reviews of the talented hitman which led to the pursuit.
The scout’s new mission has been to keep tabs on Odegaard, who has been starring for a Sociedad side which are three points off third place in the La Liga table.
Spanish newspaper El Diario Vasco claim Bout specifically attended the San Sebastian outfit’s 3-0 win over Valencia to watch the 21-year-old.
But Odegaard is set to return to the Bernabeu at the end of the season and Los Blancos will not let one of their most talented youngsters leave on the cheap.
Solskjaer is on the hunt for attacking reinforcements after failing to replace Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku last summer.
Ed Woodward is expected to give his boss a transfer warchest to play with when the window reopens.
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United’s finance chief Cliff Baty hinted there will be more money to spend than in recent years during a conference call yesterday.
“As you can imagine we don’t guide on what that will be for obvious reasons,” Baty said when asked how much will be reinvested into the squad.
“What I will say, and we reiterate the last quarter as I’ve just said right now, the level of cap ex [capital expenditure] we have got this year does reflect the accelerated payment and the third receipt profile of last summer’s activity.
“What that really means is our future commitments and liabilities are in a very good place compared to where we might be in a more typical or other years.
“In terms of what that means is we have less liabilities looking forward and that will impact what our cap ex will be.”
Baty was pressed further on how much of the headroom they will reinvest in the playing squad.
And he again kept his cards close to his chest but did point to past transfer windows where the club have spent heavily when the squad is struggling.
“We don’t give direct guidance but you can look at history and where the squad is and the comments Ed has just made about what we are going to do with the squad and how we are going to build the squad,” Baty added.
“But we will not give any direct guidance as to what that number will be. I will tell you by the time we speak in September once the transfer window is done.”
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