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Manchester United were linked with signing Real Madrid star Mateo Kovacic throughout December but if reports are to be believed, Jose Mourinho continues to be keen on signing the player from his former club, this month. Although the Croatian midfielder arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015, he has struggled to find a regular starting spot under Zinedine Zidane. He is under pressure to revive his career and with a seeming lack of quality midfielders at Old Trafford, Kovacic might be open to the move, to secure regular time on the field.
He is still quite young and at 23 years of age, he does seem like a viable long-term option. He has made just 6 appearances for the Spanish champions across competitions this season and was particularly disappointing in the recently concluded El Clasico where arch-rivals Barcelona beat Real 3-0. That is likely to have further marred his chances of establishing himself in the first-team, thus making a January exit seem most likely.
The need for a central midfielder is quite evident for United. Michael Carrick continues to be absent from the set-up and Ander Herrera has been quite weak as well as inconsistent. Marouane Fellaini did show promising signs initially but after he succumbed to an injury, he has found it tough to replicate a similar form and is yet to recover completely. Moreover, Fellaini’s contract is also set to expire this summer and the situation does look quite bleak for the Red Devils.
For a good majority of the season so far, United have been criticised for playing deeply defensive football. This has understandably frustrated the fans since they were a club built on counter-attacking football at one point. They have lacked attacking intent this season and the activity in the midfield area has been sloppy and wasteful.
There is no sense of domination or power and this has cost them a lot. Initially, they were touted as title challengers but now Manchester City are the champions-elect and are 15 points ahead in the table.
Hence, reinforcements are necessary and Kovacic does seem like a good option. But how good it will prove to be at this stage of the season remains to be seen. The best bet for United now is to fight for a 2nd-place finish and Kovacic could most certainly help them achieve that. The player would be raring to prove a point and that should push him to do his best on the field regularly if he were to join United.