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Manchester United target Cristoph Baumgartner

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The Austrian is in demand

TSG Hoffenheim v 1. FC Koeln - Bundesliga
Christoph Baumgartner
Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Manchester United reportedly have interest in signing Hoffenheim midfielder Cristoph Baumgartner.

The 21-year-old Austrian international is apparently valued at around £16 million, but his contract does not expire until 2023 meaning his club have no reason to enter into a deal that values him cheaply.

The youngster joined Hoffenheim in 2017 but was given his first team debut in 2019, and has now made 55 appearances for the German side. He has 12 goals already for the club, and his goalscoring exploits have led to him being compared to former German international Michael Ballack.

Baumgartner became a full Austrian international player in 2020 and now has five caps to his name, with two goals.

United are said to be interested in a summer transfer, with the Sun claiming that United should not wait too long to move for him in case his transfer valuation starts to rapidly increase. With Roberto Firmino costing Liverpool almost £30 million and Joelinton going to Newcastle United for £10 million more than that, Hoffenheim are known for extracting full value for any sales they make.

While United have Donny van de Been and Bruno Fernandes as their long-term options for central midfield, there are reasons to think that additions will be necessary this summer, if not sooner than that.

Paul Pogba’s form for the side has improved markedly but he continues to be linked with a move away and his contract expires in 2022, meaning he will have to be sold in the summer if he does not sign an extension. Nemanja Matic is no longer able to play every week, and both Fred and Scott McTominay show willing but are technically far off the highest standards, so at the very least need competition for their places to drive them to improve.

The exit of Jesse Lingard, expected on loan for now but permanently in the summer, would free up a squad space for Baumgartner.