Man United on the trail of Wayne Rooney’s number 10 successor
At the current incline Hakan Calhanoglu’s career path is travelling along, the 21-year-old midfielder will land a move to an elite club from Bayer Leverkusen before long.
According to the morning’s gossip columns, it’s Manchester United that are keenest to take the plunge. The Premier League leaders registered an interest in the player towards the end of the recent summer transfer window.
Although often referred to as primarily a dead-ball specialist, Calhanoglu is developing as a more rounded attacking midfielder at Roger Schmidt’s high-octane Leverkusen. He has the potential to succeed Wayne Rooney in the role at Old Trafford.
The Manchester United captain can expect to log many minutes as a number 10 now that Anthony Martial has proved he’s capable of leading the line.
Although England’s record goalscorer is only 29, Louis van Gaal is making a concerted effort to build a Red Devils squad that can compete both now and in the future.
The likes of Martial, Memphis Depay, Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin will be in the United first team for years to come, but it’s the number 10 role that remains unfulfilled from a youth perspective.
Adnan Januzaj was trialled in the position at the start of the season, but has since been shipped to Borussia Dortmund on loan, leaving few options under the age of 25 to play in that position.
Signing Calhanoglu, who the Daily Mirror claim was the subject of a €40m bid from the Red Devils in the summer, would allow the German-born Turkish international to develop alongside Rooney, before replacing him further down the line.
The Mannheim native only moved to the BayArena from Hamburg two summers ago, but adapted quickly to the raised expectations at Leverkusen by scoring 13 all-competition goals to go along with 10 assists in his debut campaign.
Five strikes in 12 this term has helped the 11-cap star increase his stature within Europe. He could even find himself at the centre of a January bidding war according to the Mirror, with AC Milan cast as United’s main rivals for his signature.
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