Manchester United have agreed an initial £64m deal with Atalanta for Rasmus Højlund, with the club going against its previous stance that it would pay no more than £60m for the forward.

The total price with add-ons will be £72m and the Denmark international will sign a contract for five years with the option of a further year.

United’s decision to pay £4m beyond their valuation of the player will raise eyebrows, particularly as Højlund is unproven in English football and last season’s Serie A campaign was his first in a major European league. The 20-year-old scored nine goals in 32 appearances.

Erik ten Hag began the window targeting Tottenham’s Harry Kane before the club pulled out. The total price for Hojlund is only around £28m less than the England captain would cost. Atalanta had demanded an initial £77m for the player, it is understood.

After the signings of Mason Mount and André Onana earlier in the window Højlund’s addition will take United’s summer spend close to £180m. If the requisite finance is raised via the sale of fringe players, Ten Hag may move to make a fourth addition. Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat, or an alternative defensive midfielder, would become the priority then.

Ten Hag had made no secret of the need for attacking help after his side’s 2-0 loss in a friendly to Real Madrid. United failed to score from any of their 14 attempts under the NRG Stadium roof, an all too familiar tale given their problems taking opportunities last season.

Asked if the attacking display in Houston emphasised why they were looking to sign a new striker, Ten Hag said: “Absolutely. There were two things - the pressing can be better from the start and scoring goals. I think we need more players who are capable to be in the one-on-ones and we had the situations of one-on-ones.

“It was [Marcus] Rashford, it was, I thought, Scott McTominay in one-on-one situations. [Alejandro] Garnacho, a one-on-one situation. From the situations, you have to score.”