Manchester United identify £44million star as Michael Carrick replacement: report

According to AS, Manchester United are looking at Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic as a potential replacement for Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini.

The 23-year-old, who joined Real from Inter Milan 2015, has struggled for playing time this season and could consider a move away from the Santiago Bernabéu as a result.

Kovacic, a Croatian international boasting 34 caps for his country, has made a total of 90 appearances for Los Blancos. However, the €50m(£44m) has struggled to dethrone Luka Modric and Toni Kroos from midfield, and the club’s poor form has seen head coach Zinedine Zidane even less likely to rotate the squad.

Manchester United are reportedly hoping to capitalise on his situation, although The Sun say Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus and ex-club Inter Milan are also keen on his signature. AS’ report states Real don’t want to sell, however, as they believe he still has a future in Spain.

Nevertheless, the lack of playing time is something United could use in negotiations, as manager Jose Mourinho has publicly stated his desire to bolster the midfield in the summer. Kovacic could be breaking down the necks of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.

The Sun believe United have a contingency plan if they fail to land Kovacic, with Lazio’s Sergi Milinkovic-Savic and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred two players also on the shortlist.

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