The development of small-molecule inhibitors of influenza virus Hemagglutinin could be relevant to the opposition of the diffusion of new pandemic viruses. In this work, we made use of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to study the interaction between two derivatives of sialic acid, Neu5Ac-α-(2,6)-Gal- β -(1–4)-GlcNAc and Neu5Ac- α -(2,3)-Gal- β -(1–4)-GlcNAc, and hemagglutinin directly expressed on the surface of recombinant human cells. We analyzed the interaction of these trisaccharides with 293T cells transfected with the H5 and H1 variants of hemagglutinin, which thus retain their native trimeric conformation in such a realistic environment. By exploiting the magnetization transfer between the protein and the ligand, we obtained evidence of the binding event, and identified the epitope. We analyzed the conformational features of the glycans with an approach combining NMR spectroscopy and data-driven molecular dynamics simulations, thus obtaining useful information for an efficient drug design. © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.