Manchester United are interested in signing Denis Zakaria from Borussia Moenchengladbach this summer, according to The Athletic.
Having one dedicated defensive midfielder would allow Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to employ more attacking formations. The manager’s first choice is reportedly West Ham’s Declan Rice, but figures in excess of £100 million have been quoted for his signature.
Zakaria, with whom United were strongly linked in early 2020, could represent better value for money and is widely considered to be one of the best in the role in the Bundesliga.
‘Gladbach have attempted to extend Zakaria’s deal which expires next summer and put in a release clause in return but Zakaria has turned down that option,’ The Athletic reports.
‘As the club are determined not to lose him for free, they will force a sale this summer — provided there are any suitable offers. His market value has been diminished considerably by his injury.’
That injury was a knee problem that kept him out of action for most of 2020. The Swiss international’s current market value (via Transfermarkt.com) is €30 million (£26m), reduced from €45 million (£39m) at the start of 2020.
‘Plenty of top Premier League teams have been linked.
‘One outside shout for a club in need of a defensive midfielder is Manchester United.
‘The Athletic have previously tipped Zakaria to be a potential fit in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s midfield, particularly in his ability to break lines from midfield and progress the team forward from deep.
‘With the ongoing contract issues, any team who did move for Zakaria may be able to secure his signature for a good price.’
With the Hammers’ bullish stance on Rice and Arsenal appearing to take the lead in the hunt for Wolves’ Ruben Neves – another defensive midfielder strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford – United’s options seem to be diminishing.
A quick move could prove to be advantageous as a good Euro 2020 could inflate Zakaria’s market value back closer to its December 2019 value. Capturing the 24-year-old for something around the £25 million mark could be an excellent piece of business, especially if the purchase can be partly funded by the mooted sale of Nemanja Matic to AS Roma.