Matteo Kovačić is on the market and the best clubs in Europe are scrambling around to generate the funds to capture him. Manchester United are one of those clubs as Ed Woodward has been put on alert by the 24-year-old’s plea for help.
It’s no secret that Manchester United have been targeting Sergej Milinković-Savić all summer. However, the situation of Matteo Kovačić may have changed everything.
Kovačić may not be cheaper, but he’s certainly less of a gamble as he has more experience at the top level. For Manchester United, the Croatian would be a smarter signing for several reasons.
Here’s why Matteo Kovačić would be a better signing for Manchester United than Sergej Milinković-Savić.
Position: Central Midfielder
Club: Real Madrid
Matteo Kovačić is, without doubt, one of the most exciting young talents to break onto the big scene over the past decade. After winning two titles as a teenager at his hometown club Dinamo Zagreb, Kovačić took his career to the next level with a move to Inter Milan in 2013.
It wasn’t too long before he was again snapped up, this time by Real Madrid, where’s gone on to make 73 appearances for Los Blancos since 2015. In the same time, the 24-year-old has represented his country on 65 occasions.
There’s a reason why the Croatian is so highly sought after, he’s one of the few players that can be world class in all three midfield positions. Matteo’s versatility puts him in a league of his own, thus allowing him to adapt to most systems.
Once tipped as Luka Modrić’s long-term replacement, Kovačić is a player that likes to dribble, hold onto the ball in tight positions and he’s incredibly effective at producing through balls in the final third. In 17 La Liga appearances last season, the 24-year-old completed 94% of his passes, won 61% of his duels and created seven chances.
In contrast, Milinković-Savić only completed 79% of his passes last season. To be fair, the Serbian plays in a more advanced role, just behind the striker. Of course, he’d be an exciting acquisition for United but Kovačić ticks more boxes than the Serbian at this time.
The signing of Matteo Kovačić would also help relieve Paul Pogba of creative duties at Old Trafford. The Frenchman’s performances last season were often subpar as he had so much to focus on, in both defence and attack. Kovačić is a player that naturally excels in a more advanced central midfielder position, but he’s not just confined to that role. He can play deeper as the holding midfielder or regista, relying on his technical attributes and intelligence to read the game.
A midfield trio of Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Mateo Kovačić possess every component needed to control, dominate and dictate games in the Premier League. Kovacic’s excellent close control would also make him a useful asset to have in games against low-blocks. Last season, Manchester United particularly struggled to turn draws into wins against low-block defences due to a lack of incisive passing and acute dribbling.
Matteo Kovačić is a signing that would turn Manchester United from title pretenders to title contenders that could realistically rival Manchester City. Kovačić is a player that would even walk into Pep’s team of superstars, that shows the enormity of this potential acquisition.