Manchester United have drawn up a Paul Pogba replacement list which includes Real Madrid youngster Federico Valverde.
The French midfielder’s future at Old Trafford has once against been thrown into doubt as agent Mino Raiola stirred up speculation this month.
With one year left on his contract, the 26-year-old is leaving the club in suspense as they plan for the summer transfer window.
But The Sun have reported that United are already taking the initiative to make sure a Pogba replacement is ready.
A shortlist names is “being prepared” by Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s side, which also includes Real Madrid star Valverde.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a breakout season at the Bernabeu last year, helping Los Blancos to a La Liga honour.
While they are struggling to keep up with rivals Atletico Madrid this season, United have kept tabs on the midfielder.
They have been scouting him for several years – and scouts are now set to increase their efforts to sign the Uruguayan this year.
He is seen as an ideal replacement for Pogba due to his versatility, box-to-box running and diversity of passing game.
But it will cost the Premier League giants a hefty fee to lure Valverde from Madrid, with his contract commanding a £148m buyout clause.
The Uruguayan, though, is only on £120,000-a-week – which the report states United would be able to improve with an offer.
United’s transfer target arrived in Spain from Uruguayan side Penarol five years ago, spending a season in the academy before going out on loan to Deportivo.
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After impressing in the 2017/18 season, he was brought into the fold by Zidane and has improved under the World Cup winner.
And a move to United could see him pass Pogba on the way as the 26-year-old has previously expressed a desire to play for the 13-time Champions League winners.
The latest transfer saga some just weeks after Raiola declared his client’s career at Old Trafford “over” – a day before they were knocked out of Europe’s elite tournament by RB Leipzig.
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