Man Utd and Chelsea get 'new rival' in chase for £6m ex-Barcelona striker

Man Utd look set to enter the second half of the Premier League with just Rasmus Hojlund available at No.9.
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Any move from Manchester United for Martin Braithwaite is looking unlikely with reports from the striker's native Denmark suggesting Real Betis are pushing to secure a deal.

Braithwaite is among a number of strikers to have been linked with a move to United this month, following an excellent run of form that has seen him bag 12 goals in 22 Spanish second division appearances for Espanyol. The 32-year-old is said to have been offered to a number of Premier League clubs and has a release clause of €7million (£6m).

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Danish outlet BT have since reported that Betis have come to the table with an initial offer of €1m plus out of favour winger Juan Cruz. Espanyol are reluctant to sell their top-scorer as they push for promotion back into La Liga, although such a scenario would see Braithwaite's release clause change so he could leave for free.

United look to have turned away several opportunities to sign a short-term forward, with the likes of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Paris Saint-Germain's Hugo Ekitike also linked in recent weeks. Erik ten Hag was expected to bring a quick fix in this month, following confirmation that Anthony Martial will be absent for around 10 weeks after undergoing surgery on a groin complaint.

His absence will leave Rasmus Hojlund as the sole natural No.9 available to Ten Hag, who has often stressed the importance of not placing too much pressure on the 20-year-old. Marcus Rashford can lead the line if needed but has been ineffective in that role and missed Sunday's FA Cup win over Newport Country due to an internal disciplinary issue.

United will lose Martial permanently when his contract expires in the summer and Ten Hag is expected to bring a more long-term option in to compete with Hojlund and help aid the young Dane's development.

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