Manchester City have reportedly identified Mateo Kovacic as an alternative to Jorginho, with the Real Madrid man also being chased by Manchester United
According to a report by Daily Mail, Manchester City have set their sights on Mateo Kovacic, with their pursuit of Jorginho running into troubled waters. The Real Madrid midfielder is also being tailed by City’s local rivals Manchester United for a move in the summer transfer window.
Kovacic arrived at Real Madrid from Inter Milan in the summer of 2015 with a burgeoning reputation of being one of the best young midfielders in the world. Hailed by many as a possible replacement for Luka Modric, the Croat has struggled for game time, and is yet to get closer to his potential.
While he remains a highly rated player at Real Madrid, his restricted appearances – the Croat started just 18 games this past season – could force his hand. Indeed, Kovacic recently hinted at a possible exit from the Bernabeu, iterating that he has to play more next season. His uncertain position with Los Blancos has piqued the interest of several clubs including Manchester United and Manchester City.
Manchester United have the need to sign two midfielders this summer, with Michael Carrick hanging up his boots and Marouane Fellaini looking set to leave on a free transfer. While they have completed Fred’s transfer, Jose Mourinho needs a creative midfielder in his squad to fill Carrick’s void, something that Kovacic could be capable of doing.
For a long time, Manchester United looked like the favourites to sign the Croatian international, but they now face stiff competition from their neighbours Manchester City in the player’s pursuit.
The Premier League champions’ priority is Jorginho, but Napoli have turned down two bids for the Italy international thus far, the latest being valued at £44 million. The Partonepei are commanding a £60 million fee, which Manchester City are unwilling to pay, and are, thus, considering alternate options, Kovacic being one of them.
Manchester City’s need for a creative midfielder arises from the fact that David Silva is set to be phased out of the squad slowly over the next couple of seasons. The Spaniard’s void will be hard to fill, and with Ilkay Gundogan the only other option within the squad, Pep Guardiola has been forced into the market.
While Manchester City would still prefer signing Jorginho, they might have to turn their attention elsewhere for good if Napoli do not change their stance. But, the fact that Kovacic is only a backup option gives Manchester United the advantage in pursuit of the Croat.
It is likely that Kovacic would prefer staying at Real Madrid, but if he fails to get assurances of playing time for next season, he is likely to leave the club. It now remains to be seen if Manchester United can swiftly close a deal for the player, or if Manchester City can manage to steal a march on their neighbours for him.