Manchester United chase £42m duo: Former Chelsea star & Set-Piece magician on Old Trafford wish-listPublished January 05, 2017
Lassana Diarra and Hakan Calhanoglu have emerged as Manchester United transfer targets as the Red Devils prepare to lose Morgan Schneiderlin during the January window.
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Midfielder Schneiderlin’s lack of game-time at Old Trafford since his 2015 move from Southampton has led to the Frenchman seeking a switch away from the club in search of regular game-time, and his squad place could be taken by fellow countryman Diarra of Marseille.
Last month, United manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that Schneiderlin would be leaving the north west giants in January: “He opened his heart a couple of times and my answer is simple: if he’s playing regular with me I have the right to say no way, if he’s not playing regular I have no right to tell a player that if he wants to be happy you’re going nowhere.
“So my answer was if the offer is right and our board thinks the offer is a good offer in relation to a very good player like Morgan I would not stop him from going.”
And today’s L’Equipe claims that his departure has been accelerated, with the ex-Saints midfielder ‘seduced’ by the prospect of linking up with former boss Ronald Koeman at local neighbours Everton.
Both the Toffees and West Brom have seen bids rejected by United, who are holding out for the full £24 million they paid Southampton for his signature, but the French publication writes that a deal could be concluded by as early as the end of the week if Everton match the valuation.
Schneiderlin’s likely exit leaves United short of cover in central midfield, though, with Marseille midfielder Diarra a potential replacement.
Mourinho is a known admirer of the combative 31-year-old’s talents following their time together at Chelsea and Real Madrid, and the midfielder has experienced something of a renaissance since moving to the Stade Velodrome- breaking back into Didier Deschamps Les Bleus squad over the past year.
French outlet Foot Mercato (via Metro Sport) report that United are one of a number of teams interested in acquiring the experienced holding player, with West Ham and teams in the Chinese Super League also keen on offering him one last big pay-day to leave Marseille. It is thought that the Red Devils’ status in the game, as well as Mourinho’s relationship with the player, could give them the edge if they decide to make a formal bid for his services.
Creative midfielder and free-kick expert Calhanoglu, meanwhile, has been strongly linked with a transfer to Chelsea in recent weeks but has issued a come-and-get-me plea to Old Trafford officials.
Speaking to Turkish TV, the technically gifted Bayer Leverkusen star admitted that he’d struggle to turn down a move to United or Barcelona.
“Barcelona and Manchester United are huge clubs, it would be different to turn them down but I have not said anything about any transfers or anything of the sort,” he told Lig TV.
Still only 22 years of age, Calhanolgu has amassed 26 goals and 28 assists in just 113 appearances for the Bundesliga side and has featured on Chelsea boss Antonio Conte’s radar as a potential replacement for the departed Oscar.