Manchester United’s search for midfield reinforcements has led them to approach Everton about a deal for Amadou Onana.

Erik ten Hag is keen to address his team’s lack of physicality and has turned his focus to bringing in a commanding central midfielder. United are yet to make progress in their pursuit of Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat.

Everton are reluctant to lose Onana, who joined from Lille for £33m last summer, and insist they are not under financial pressure to make a sale. The Belgian is a key player for Sean Dyche and the club hope to hold on to the 21-year-old for at least another year.

It would take at least a bid of £50m to convince Everton to sell. They would be entitled to demand even more given that top midfielders have been moving for eye-watering sums this summer.

Everton’s stance is that Onana’s value will continue to grow if he has a good season and it is understood they do not need to sell him in order to finance a move for a striker. A lack of ruthlessness in front of goal was evident when Dyche’s side opened the season with a 1-0 defeat by Fulham. Everton are intent on signing a striker.

Equally there is an awareness that it could be difficult to keep Onana if United’s interest develops. He impressed last season and was targeted by Chelsea in January.

Ten Hag wants more depth in midfield after allowing Fred to join Fenerbahce. He feels United need more height but he does not want to compromise on quality. United believe Onana is more than a destroyer and is good enough on the ball to play for Ten Hag, whose options in midfield are Casemiro, Mason Mount, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen.

McTominay could be sold if another midfielder arrives. West Ham had a £30m bid turned down for the Scotland international last week, with United holding out for £45m.

United have spent heavily this summer. They have strengthened in goal by signing André Onana from Inter. Mount has joined from Chelsea for £60m and Rasmus Højlund, the Denmark striker, has signed from Atalanta for £72m.

United could sign a centre-back if Harry Maguire joins West Ham. The £30m deal has been delayed by Maguire seeking a payoff from United to leave.