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Manchester United to compete for the signature of talented Croatian midfielder

Manchester United will reportedly face competition for the signature of Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic this summer. The reports come after United manager Jose Mourinho has already signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal this month with Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading in the other direction as part of the deal. United’s midfield is an area that will need some recruitment in the summer with Michael Carrick certain to retire this summer and Marouane Fellaini, who is out of contract at the end of the season, could also leave the club.

This would leave Mourinho with Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay in midfield, with is not enough to partake in four competitions without players being rested to keep them fresh throughout the season. United may be able to promote from within the club’s Academy, but more experience will be necessary to give United a midfield capable of competing with the best both domestically and in Europe. One player who could give United more options is Mateo Kovacic.

The Croatian signed for Real Madrid in a €29 million, six-year contract from Inter Milan in the summer of 2015, spending two-years at the Italian club before heading to the Spanish capital. Italian source Tuttosport has reported that former club Inter have a strong interest in re-signing Kovacic this summer after failing to sign Javier Pastore from Paris Saint-Germain. United have been linked with the player several times, the latest may be made up by the media to show that United can be beaten to players, despite the reports linking the Old Trafford club to the player may be fictitious.

Kovacic has seemingly failed to live up to his expectations at Real Madrid, playing 88 times and scoring three goals for his club in the three seasons he has spent at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Croatian may not even be on Mourinho’s radar because of the fact he has failed to shine in Madrid. In the three seasons he played for Inter, Kovacic played half the amount of matches (44) but scored eight goals, five more than he has in his time in Madrid.

Kovacic has been described as a great technician with excellent dribbling skills, a versatile player who can play a number of positions in midfield. The Croatian started out as an attacking midfielder, but at Inter was played as a wide midfielder or as a central midfielder, as a deep-lying playmaker. Different coaches have utilised the player in many different positions, each one saw a reason to do this, which will have helped in the player’s development over the years.

At United, under Mourinho, Kovacic could become one of the best midfielders in the world but that all depends on whether Mourinho has the player on his list as an option to strengthen the midfield in the summer. There have been many names linked to the Old Trafford club already and plenty more will follow over the coming months as the media look set to continue to dominate the headlines by talking about who Manchester United may or may not sign – which shows they do not actually know anything until a reliable source, Gianluca Di Marzio if you will, reports it.

Many have suggested playing Paul Pogba in a three-man midfield would be more beneficial for the player but right now at United, the players to facilitate such a thing are not present at the club, so the Frenchman has played in a two-man midfield with Nemanja Matic, or has played in a more advanced role, which has seen him shine on occasion. Mourinho will know what he wants and what he needs to make United a dominant team in the midfield, which is where they have fallen short in recent months. That may be Kovacic, or someone completely different.

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