Manchester United target Fred and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as Jose Mourinho plans summer midfield overhaul

Top choice Toni Kroos won't leave Real Madrid while alternative Napoli's Jorginho has his heart set on City or Liverpool forcing Mourinho to shift his attentions elsewhere

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Wednesday 02 May 2018 13:01 BST
Jose Mourinho confident Marouane Fellaini will sign new Manchester United contract

Manchester United have made Lazio's Sergej Milinković-Savić and Shakhtar Donetsk's Fred their primary midfield targets for the summer, with Jose Mourinho intent on specifically enhancing that area of his side.

The Portuguese feels this one of the main remaining issues in his team, because the lack of a player like a prime Michael Carrick means they aren't quite fast enough in the middle.

That has seen Nemanja Matic sat back further than would be idealised, and also left a gap to Paul Pogba, who is then not allowed concentrate on his main qualities as often as either player or manager would like. More than anything, Mourinho wants the ball played at a faster pace by his team, and thinks a superior passer in the middle would allow this.

Such concerns have seen a lot of consideration about potential targets, and something of a jostle by top clubs for a premium position. Toni Kroos had been Mourinho's ideal, but is again considered almost unsellable by Real Madrid, despite previous hopes he could be a potential sale as they attempt to fund the purchase of Neymar. That is no longer the case, and Kroos is considered too difficult to prise away.

Jorginho of Napoli had been a target but he is said to prefer either Manchester City or Liverpool, with the new Premier League champions having stolen ahead.

Milinkovic-Savic is one of the most sought after midfielders in Europe

That has led United to turn to a player who had seemed certain for City in January in Fred, only for injuries to cause them to change their plans. Mourinho has ensured his club have stayed on top of the situation, and more and more people close to both Old Trafford and Lazio feel the 23-year-old Milinkovic-Savic will go to United this summer.

Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl remains an option, but there is now a growing feeling he will go to Bayern Munich, if he leaves Borussia Dortmund.

Fred has caught the eye of United and rivals City

Mourinho wants a well-bolstered midfield, something that looks likelier now that Marouane Fellaini is expected to stay, but also with the form of Ander Herrera. The Portuguese has been hugely impressed with the Spaniard's big-game impact, with that only brought to a head by his match-winner against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-final.

Herrera is said to have Mourinho's "full trust" once more.

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