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Man Utd ‘scouting’ highly-rated Carlos Baleba

Manchester United are expected to sign at least one central midfielder this summer, having been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Chelsea’s Mason Mount among others.

However, the Red Devils also appear to be planning for the future if the latest reports are to be believed.

Graeme Bailey of 90min says United are one of many clubs ‘scouting’ Carlos Baleba – a 19-year-old box-to-box player who has made 14 appearances for LOSC Lille and made his debut at 18.

Erik ten Hag isn’t short of defensive-midfielders with Casemiro, Fred and Scott McTominay, nor is he short of creative midfielders with Christian Eriksen, Marcel Sabitzer and Bruno Fernandes, but he doesn’t have many players that can do both.

United’s squad does look bloated in the engine room as Donny van de Beek, Zidane Iqbal and Kobbie Mainoo are also in the first-team squad, but injuries have kept out the former while a lack of experience is keeping out the others.

Baleba is ahead of the two youngsters in terms of development, but he won’t come cheap.

Bailey believes the Cameroonian could set United back around £30 million, so time will tell if the Red Devils end up making a move.

But with Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Leicester City, West Ham United, Juventus, OGC Nice and AS Monaco all showing interest, United can’t afford to hang about if they want to secure his signature. AC Milan even had a bid rejected in January.

Ten Hag successfully replaced Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, who were sold to Juventus and AS Roma last summer, by bringing in Casemiro from Real Madrid, but there is more deadwood in the squad that needs upgrading.

Baleba is already adept at carrying the ball from deep and turning over possession, so he could develop into a top midfielder under the right guidance.

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