Manchester United blow with Ajax close to agreeing deal for 18-year-old forward

Manchester United have been given bad news in their pursuit for Ajax forward Justin Kluivert, with agent Mino Raiola revealing to De Telegraaf that contract talks between the two parties are ongoing.

The 18-year-old has risen to prominence in the Dutch Eredivisie after progressing through the Ajax youth ranks. Promoted to the first-team midway through last season, Kluivert scored and created six goals in seven league starts.

He’s contributed 10 goals in 18 starts this campaign and has Barcelona and United in the race for his signature, says talkSPORT. Kluivert, who is the son of ex-Barcelona and Netherlands striker Patrick, looks in no rush to leave Ajax, and his representative says he’s set to sign a new deal to keep him at the Johan Cruijff Arena past 2019.

“The negotiations are running well and there are no ripples in the water, but I have a duty to handle this very carefully. At Ajax, Justin is still playing under a small contract and there is a lot of interest for him, an exceptional amount and from the biggest clubs,” said Raiola. “You have to take those noises seriously too, because we are dealing with one of the greatest talents in the world.”

His asking price is unknown, as the stiff competition from side around Europa is likely to drive his value up this summer. Manchester United don’t have a fervent need for him either.

Jose Mourinho has Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata as options in attack, so Kluivert would have a tough task nailing down a starting place. Barcelona might be a bigger pull given his father played for them in the past.

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