United have already agreed personal terms with the midfielder and are confident of making him Erik ten Hag’s first summer signing. They hope to pay between £50m and £60m for Mount, whose contract expires next year, but Chelsea are likely to ask for at least £70m plus add-ons. Arsenal, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are also interested in the England international.
United will hope Mount’s contract situation gives them the upper hand in negotiations. They also know Chelsea are under pressure to sell players and will be keen to get a deal done before the end of the month.
Chelsea’s frenzied spending under their Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership has left them with a bloated squad and they need to recoup funds. Insiders have insisted that financial fair play concerns are not a factor this summer.
Selling Mount would be an easy way to calm any issues over FFP as money received for academy products goes into the accounts as pure profit but losing the 24-year-old would leave Chelsea at risk of upsetting supporters.
Mount, who earns about £75,000 a week, is popular with the fanbase and has been with the club since he was six. He has been described as a Chelsea fanatic and hoped to avoid this situation.
However, the club have been unable to reach an agreement with Mount, who is one of the lowest paid members of the squad, and talks have stalled. It is understood Mount has rejected several offers, the highest worth about £200,000 a week.
Mount, who struggled with injuries and form last season, has held out for more and relations with the club’s hierarchy have become strained. Chelsea have insisted they would like him to stay. Mauricio Pochettino, their new head coach, hopes to keep Mount.
Yet that looks an increasingly remote possibility, with United closing in on a key signing. Ten Hag wants more athleticism in midfield and he believes Mount’s pressing, versatility and intelligence would make him an ideal fit as a No 8 in his team.
Chelsea could lose more academy products this summer. Trevoh Chalobah and Callum Hudson-Odoi could leave and Milan want Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Brighton have had a bid rejected for Levi Colwill, with Chelsea determined not to lose the centre-back. Conor Gallagher wants to stay and fight for a place in Pochettino’s midfield.
Chelsea are also likely to sell Mateo Kovacic after granting the midfielder permission to speak to Manchester City. United are also looking to sign a striker and are interested in Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Atalanta’s Rasmus Højlund.