Search icon


29th Jul 2018

Manchester United scouts pushing Croatian star on José Mourinho

Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic have both been linked with United in recent weeks but only one looks likely to join

Patrick McCarry

The 24-year-old featured in six games as Croatia reached their first ever World Cup final

Jose Mourinho is hopeful of signing two new players before the transfer windows closes, and the Premier League season begins.

The Manchester United boss was cut a sullen figure during his side’s pre-season tour of the United States and a 4-1 reversal at the hands of Liverpool, on Saturday, will not have improved his mood.

Following the game, Mourinho said as little as half of the touring squad will be around for league duty in 2018/19. Many will drop back to U23 duty while others will be loaned out of sold on.

United have only brought in three new faces over the summer – Lee Grant, Diogo Dalot and Fred – but Mourinho is not convinced his squad is strong enough to push for trophies on multiple fronts.

“Do you want Alexis Sanchez to be happy with the players he has around him?” he asked.

Lovely confidence booster, there, for the likes of youngsters Tahith Chong, Demetri Mitchell and Ethan Hamilton.

The United boss told reporters at Michigan Stadium, on Saturday, that he had handed chief executive Ed Woodward and his board a list of five transfer targets near the end of last season. With under a fortnight to go to the new season, zero of that five-man list have been brought in.

It is believed that Mourinho wants a new leader in the centre of his defence. Toby Alderweireld and, more optimistically, Raphael Varane were both sought after but United are not digging deep on this one.

Harry Maguire looks to be on his way, as his transfer valuation and prospective wages will not be as prohibitive as the other two options, but the Gary Cahill to United talk is not mere speculation. The Chelsea veteran is being considered as a fall-back option that can be secured for a manageable fee.

Elsewhere, according to The Sunday TimesUnited’s scouts are pushing Croatia’s Ante Rebic as a cheaper alternative to Mourinho’s right wing requests.

Willian and Gareth Bale were sought for this role, with Bale the priority, but the scouts are recommending Rebic as a solid, cut-price option. The Eintracht Frankfurt attacker scored one goal for Croatia as they made it all the way to the World Cup final and was a willing runner throughout.

Somewhat worrying, especially as Rebic is being looked upon as a right winger, only one of his 18 crosses attempted in the tournament reached a Croatia teammate.

Rebic would cost United in the region of £27m, while Ivan Perisic – his Croatia teammate – could be prised from Inter Milan if the English side stumped up £40m.