Chelsea and Manchester United are reportedly set to face competition from Atletico Madrid in the race to sign Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria.
According to a report from Spanish publication El Gol Digital, La Liga champions Atletico Madrid have expressed an interest in signing Borussia Monchengladbach and Switzerland midfielder Denis Zakaria, who is also on the radars of Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United.
Having spent the formative years of his career with Servette in Switzerland, Zakaria first made an impression at BSC Young Boys, whom he joined in 2015 before Gladbach picked him up in the summer of 2017. Since arriving at Borussia Park, the 24-year-old has been a regular in the middle of the park for the Foals, racking up 128 appearances to date, in which he has nine goals and seven assists.
Zakaria did miss a string of games towards the end of the 2019/20 season and the start of the last campaign due to a serious knee injury but was able to win his place back in the side gradually, which eventually earned him a place in the Switzerland squad for the UEFA Euro 2020. Despite his recent fitness issues, the 24-year-old’s stock remains high as ever, as indicated by the interest in him from top clubs in England and now Atletico.
Los Rojiblancos are in the market for reinforcements in the middle of the park amid question marks over the future of Saul Niguez, who fell down the pecking order last season. In addition, the likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia and Hector Herrera haven’t quite been able to make the desired impact and could be shown the exit doors, thus opening the door for the signing of someone like Zakaria.
The 24-year-old, valued at €35 million as his contract enters the final year of his contract, could be seen as a replacement for Thomas Partey, who left for Arsenal last summer. However, Atletico will have to deal with competition from clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United, among others, to sign Zakaria.
The interest from Chelsea is a bit of a surprise considering that they already have three top-quality central midfielders in N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, while loanees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tiemoue Bakayoko could also be options, provided they remain at the club.
But with Billy Gilmour departing on loan and Kante having had a few fitness issues in the season gone by, adding another central midfielder like Zakaria, who could be a good fit into Thomas Tuchel’s high-energy system, would make sense.
As for Manchester United, their interest in Zakaria seems pretty straightforward as they look to phase Nemanja Matic out of the first-team setup, with the Serb not getting any younger. There also remains the matter of Paul Pogba’s uncertain future at Old Trafford, as he enters the final year of his contract with the Red Devils, while Donny van de Beek could also be looking at an exit after a difficult debut season.
Given his all-around capabilities, Zakaria could be a viable option, especially considering his age and the reasonable €35 million valuation. Apart from these three clubs, the likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are also said to be interested. So, it will be interesting to see if the 24-year-old ends up sealing a big move to a European giant this summer.