Manchester United interested in head to head battle with Benfica for Croatian starlet

It is being reported that Manchester United are ready to battle with Portuguese side Benfica for the services of Dinamo Zagreb wonderkid Nikola Moro. The 19-year-old has played 36 times for his club this season which has seen him being captioned as the ‘new Luka Modric’. Portuguese newspaper Record, which has been a starting point for much speculation over the years has stated that United are amongst many of Europe’s top clubs in the pursuit for the defensive midfielder.

Modric is one of the best players to come out of Croatia and it was at Tottenham Hotspur where he rose to fame, earning a move to Real Madrid. United were interested in Modric and have been for a number of years after his move to Madrid, at least the newspapers said they were anyway. It will be a big boost for Moro to be likened to a player such as Modric but personally, I don’t like suggesting a player is the next big star by stating they are the new Modric, or whoever they are being compared to.

Benfica have reported seen the potential in Moro, who has played four times for Croatia’s U21’s, which could see him emulate the success Modric has had for both club and country. United are reportedly ready to go head to head with the Portuguese giants but the report has speculated that United have the upper hand based on the financial clout they have plus the lure of one of Europe’s richest clubs.

If the player did sign for Benfica, like a lot of the Portuguese clubs do, they will most likely insert a release clause in the players contract which would see a hefty amount payable should the player actually break the shackles of the label he has been given and actually look like a player worthy of being compared to Luka Modric. Mourinho will need to delve into the transfer market this summer to bring in at least one new midfielder as Michael Carrick will need to be replaced. Marouane Fellaini could also leave the club on the expiry of his current contract.

Dinamo Zagreb have reportedly turned down a £12.5 million offer for Moro with Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk the team looking to prise the teenager from Croatia. Zagreb will fight for a much bigger fee if they choose to let the player leave for a bigger club and a bigger challenge, which is something he will get wherever he goes.

Moro is a product of Dinamo Zagreb’s Academy and has drawn comparisons to compatriot Luka Modric for his skill set. The player captained his country at the U17 FIFA World Cup and at the UEFA U19 European Championships. He made his debut for Zagreb in 2016 playing the full 90 minutes in the final match of the season, a 4-0 victory over NK Lokomotiva. Moro then established himself in the squad after a string of good performances.

The 19-year-old is described as a defensive midfielder but seems to be more of a deep-lying playmaker than a midfield destroyer. Moro is skilful on the ball, has the power to run along with the ability to get past his opposition, loving to break forward and join in the attack. Moro has the ability to read the game and loves to come out of nowhere and take the ball from the opposition – something United seem to lack right now.

This season, Moro has played 20 times in the Croatian league, scoring four goals and assisting a further two – showing the impact he has been able to make in the final third of the pitch. Moro demonstrates his vision and passing each time he plays plus his ability to glide past the opposition which could suggest he has a  great future ahead of him if he is able to adapt to a tougher league at a much bigger club – which has posed problems in the past, especially at Manchester United.

copyright: JW