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Man Utd identify £44m replacement for Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick is in the final five months of his contract at Manchester United and is expected to leave Old Trafford in the summer.

The 36-year-old has yet to play a single Premier League game this season, appearing in only the FA and EFL Cups, once each this season.

Carrick had been out of action for a couple of months after undergoing a heart procedure, returning for our FA Cup win over Yeovil Town last month.

It is widely expected that Jose Mourinho will look for a replacement to the long-serving captain over the summer.  And Spanish outlet AS are reporting that we are looking at Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic to do that job.

The 23-year-old is not a regular in Zinedine Zidane’s side at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and ESPN have previously reported that he has a buy-out clause of €50 million (£44m).  The Croatian international has made just 1 start in La Liga this season and seven appearances in total, combining for just 172 minutes.

As well as Carrick being set to depart, Marouane Fellaini is also in the remaining five months of his contract having not put pen to paper over a new deal that was recently offered to him.  The Belgian is currently out after undergoing knee surgery and not due to return until April, so it will be interesting to see if he is offered a new deal in the future.

Jose Mourinho went with a 4-3-3 formation for our recent FA Cup victory over Yeovil in which Alexis Sanchez made his debut.  It’s possible that the boss will want to play this formation more frequently, meaning that any summer signing could be a regular alongside Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park.

Kovacic has struggled to get into the starting lineup regularly at Real Madrid due to talents such as Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.  His lack of playing time could certainly give us an excellent opportunity to land Mateo Kovacic over the summer and his buy-out clause is certainly not out of our range.

Mateo Kovacic stands at 5’10” and is a box-to-box midfielder who can offer protection of our back four but is also good at bringing the ball forward to start attacks and is good at creating chances for teammates.