World Cup finalist Mateo Kovacic has asked Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui to allow him to leave the club this summer and Manchester United are among the interested clubs, according to Spanish outlet Marca.
The report claims that the Croatian international was in for talks about his future just five days after the 4-2 defeat to France on July 15 and is serious about moving on to increase his gametime.
It says that United face competition from their bitterest rivals – Manchester City and Liverpool – among others for the sought-after deep-lying playmaker and that he would cost at least 50m euros (£44.6m).
The report also says that the European champions have so far refused to bow to Kovacic’s demands but the Croat hopes that will change in the days to come.
As it stands, it is tough to picture exactly where new big-money midfield recruit Fred fits into the current United midfield, especially in light of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard’s impressive World Cups.
Nemanja Matic enjoyed a strong debut season at Old Trafford but the suspicion persists that he lacks the energy and speed to operate as a sole holding midfielder on a regular basis in a 4-3-3, which would allow two of Fred, Pogba and Lingard to burst forward and create havoc.
Having Kovacic as a deep-lying playmaker and the sole pivot would allow Fred to bomb on and showcase his dribbling ability; alongside Matic, he would be more restricted. Further, the Croat’s superior passing ability would help pick out his surges forward.