Manchester United may have found a long-term replacement for the ageing Michael Carrick after sending scouts to Italy to check on Bologna prospect Amadou Diawara.
The 18-year-old has been making waves in Serie A since joining I Rossoblu from San Marino in the summer and reports suggest Red Devils representatives were in attendance to run the rule over the youngster in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Torino.
Diawara has featured no less than 32 times for Bologna this term and his battling displays suggest he fits the mould for English football.
A record of 10 yellow cards and one sending off means he requires a little finessing but United manager Louis van Gaal – famed for blooding young talent – has reportedly seen enough to convince him to make a bid.
Under contract at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara until 2020 it is thought a fee of at least £23m will be required to persuade manager Roberto Donadoni to part company with the Guinea-born defensive midfielder but with interest from elsewhere that fee could rise.
Chelsea and West Ham are also credited with an interest in the player, while bids from around Italy are also expected this summer.
United are set to offer Carrick, 34, a new deal once the managerial situation at Old Trafford is sorted for next season but with the England man entering the twilight of his career the time to seek replacements is now.
United’s success with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Timothy Fosu-Mensah this season could convince Diawara that Old Trafford is the best place for him to progress – but should Van Gaal leave in the summer that perspective is likely to change.
The Red Devils current squad will take to the field later tonight as 2/5 favourites for the visit of Crystal Palace.
The Eagles can be backed at 17/2 to take all three points, with the draw on at 15/4, and with his side losing 6-0 to Napoli last night Diawara could well be among those keeping an eye on proceedings at Old Trafford.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.