Manchester United are reportedly monitoring Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde, amid the uncertainty surrounding Paul Pogba’s future at the club.
Not for the first time during his second spell at Old Trafford, the Frenchman is heading into the back end of a season with rumours that it could be his last at the club, despite having been a key player for United this term.
The World Cup winner missed a large chunk of the last campaign due to injury, but returned to action in June to help his side to a third-place finish, following the Premier League’s three-month hiatus from competitive action due to the ongoing pandemic.
Such form even led to talk of a new long-term deal at the club over the summer, although that went out the window in early December after the midfielder’s agent, Mino Raiola, commented that his client’s future lay elsewhere.
With the 27-year-old’s contract set to expire in June 2022, United run the risk of seeing him go for free at the end of next season, with the likelihood being that he will leave this summer if he fails to commit to a new deal at the club.
The prospect of losing the midfielder has left Ed Woodward and co seeking a suitable replacement, The Sun reporting that Real Madrid man Fede Valverde is one of the players United are keeping an eye on.
The Uruguayan central midfielder emerged as a key player under Zidane Zidane last season and has gained a number of admirers for his impressive box-to-box displays.
The 22-year-old has found game time slightly more difficult to come by this term, however, with the Madrid boss favouring the more experienced Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in midfield, although with both men over 30, the club are unlikely to want to part with the younger Valverde.
Equally, trying to prize the youngster from the Bernabeu won’t be easy, as he still has four years left on his current deal – a contract that includes a huge £148m buyout clause.
One potential solution could be a swap deal between the two clubs with Valverde and Pogba going in opposite directions, the latter having previously been linked with a move to the Spanish club, as well as a return to Juventus.
That being said, with the possibility of signing Pogba for free next year, the cash-strapped La Liga side may be unwilling to entertain talk of a swap deal, nor fork out the seemingly inevitably high asking price that United will demand.
As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, their recent below-par displays have illustrated the need for reinforcements even if Pogba remains at the club, with Sevilla defender Jules Kounde one of the many names being linked with a move to Manchester.