Manchester City are attempting to steal Croatia’s hottest prospect, Mateo Kovacic, from under the noses of city rivals Manchester United.
Officials from the blue half of Manchester met with representatives of the Dinamo Zagreb attacking-midfielder earlier this week as they looked to edge ahead of the competition for Kovacic’s signature.
Although talks between both parties were said to be positive, the 17 year-old star is understood to prefer a move to the red half.
A source told Goal.com, “Manchester City is an exciting project and a wonderful club that interests Mateo. But at the moment, he would rather move to Manchester United when the right time comes to leave.
“He is only 17 so right now he needs to play and grow as a player.”
Kovacic is quickly developing into a huge talent with Croatian pundits comparing him to the likes of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and fellow countryman Luka Modric. After making his first senior appearance for Dinamo last year at just 16 years of age, Kovacic has become a regular fixture in the first-team whilst also braking into the Croatia Under-21 side.
Big things are expected from the teenage sensation. Croatia’s Under-17’s manager, Martin Novoselac, reportedly had this to say about Kovacic after he made the step up to the Under-21’s, “I haven’t seen a youngster with so much talent since the days of Robert Prosinecki.”
Glittering performances on the pitch and such high praise off it have led to interest from the usual European super-powers, such as Bayern Munich and Juventus. Dinamo value their golden boy at £10m, a price Arsenal reportedly refused to pay during the summer as they deemed it too expensive.
Representatives of Kovacic and his club are well aware of Sir Alex Ferguson’s interest. However, a move away from Zagreb in January is unlikely as he is expected to remain with the Croatian League 1 leaders until the end of the season but a move to the Premiership in the not-so distant future is a strong possibility with Old Trafford being his probable destination.
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