Jose Mourinho must wish Michael Carrick was 10 years younger, but with the Geordie midfielder turning 36 this year, the Manchester United boss must look ahead. And that takes him towards Monaco star Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The 22-year-old is impressing for the Ligue 1 outfit, who are launching their strongest title bid in years.
Bakayoko’s cool, calm and collected approach in midfield has been noted by a host of Europe’s clubs, with United reportedly very keen.
According to the stats boffins at Squawka, the French U21 international is producing an 87 per cent pass rate this season – Carrick-esque – and only five players who have featured more than 15 times can boast better than that in Ligue 1.
And with only six players producing more tackles this season, Bakayoko really is proving to be one of the stars of the season.
After being omitted by Mourinho at the start of his Man United reign, Carrick has come to be a lynch-pin for the Red Devils alongside Ander Herrera.
You can’t argue with facts so it says everything that United are yet to lose this season when the 35-year-old has featured.
But the former England international’s contract is up in the summer, and despite comments emerging from Manchester that a new deal has been offered, it has yet to be confirmed.
Valued at just over £5m by transfermarkt.co.uk, United would have no problem affording Bakayoko, especially after offloading Morgan Schneiderlin to Everton for £22m this week.
But with a contract running until 2019, Monaco have no need to sell up, and have plenty of time to work on a new contract for their star midfielder.
With each impressive performance however, Bakayoko’s star continues to rise, and United’s eagerness to sign him grows and grows.
Mourinho will be hoping Carrick can produce his understated role once again this weekend, when Liverpool visit Old Trafford.
And the bookies make United favourites to defeat their old rivals at 6/5.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing