Monday 11 December 2017

Man United 'consider club-record £48m bid' for Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke

Atletico's Koke, left, has been a star performer for Atletico this season.
Atletico's Koke, left, has been a star performer for Atletico this season.

Jack de Menezes

Manchester United are hopeful that they can land Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke in a £48m move that would smash their current transfer record as the Louis van Gaal era begins to take shape.

With the current Netherlands manager appointed as the replacement to David Moyes earlier this month, United have begun their plans to revamp the squad in an effort to return to the Champions League after their disastrous campaign following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

Having identified Koke as a potential summer target, United were originally hopeful that they could negotiate a move for the 22-year-old, but Atletico’s reluctance to sell one of their brightest talents has led to the Premier League club consider a move to activate his £48m release clause.

The newly-crowned Spanish league champions could be raided this summer after the biggest clubs in Europe took notice of their triumphant La Liga campaign. With Diego Costa, Tiago and Filipe Luis all expected to be hotly pursued, Atletico are defiant that they do not want to sell Koke to any of their European rivals.

But Van Gaal is believed to have identified the young Spanish talent as the man United are currently missing in the heart of their midfield. Having signed Juan Mata from Chelsea for a record £37.1m in January, the club could quickly smash their biggest ever signing within six months should they activate the near-half-a-million clause in Koke’s contract.

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It’s believed that the Red Devils are willing to offer Koke a contract in the region of £60,000-a-week, but could up his salary if it means they land the creative midfielder, who shone last season as he provided 13 assists in La Liga – the second most along with Cesc Fabregas – behind Real’s Angel Di Maria.

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