United and Chelsea battle for €6m wonderkid - who is he?

Reports in Croatia suggest that the Premier League giants are ready to go toe-to-toe for the signing of 17-year-old Robert Muric.

The future of Croatian football looks exceedingly bright, with some of the international stars of tomorrow seemingly making their way in the game at Dinamo Zagreb.

Alen Halilovic has become a household name after shooting to fame with impressive displays, with the likes of Tottenham and Bayern Munich thought to be battling it out for the attacking midfielder’s signature.

However, it is another Zagreb teenager that has made the news over the last 12 hours, with 17-year-old attacker Robert Muric reportedly catching the gaze of Manchester United and Chelsea.

Croatian newspaper Jutarnji Iist have claimed that both of the Premier League giants have been keeping tabs on the teenage forward, with the pair ready to splash €6 million on the prospect.

The eastern European daily are suggesting that Muric has what it takes to be the first Croatian player to set out for the Old Trafford outfit, while the Blues are also keen on the teenage sensation.

But what do we know about Muric?

  • The attacker caught the eye for Croatia under-17’s at the age-grade World Cup earlier this year, playing three games and getting one goal against Morocco.
  • He is left footed, and has built his burgeoning reputation due to exemplary technique, vision and skill.
  • Despite being left-footed, he is used predominantly on the right wing. He can also operate on the left or as a number ten.
  • Muric has been playing for the age-grade sides at Dinamo, and is yet to make his debut for the senior side.
  • His contract is due to expire this summer, where he will have a decision to make in where he signs his first senior deal.
  • Borussia Dortmund have also been linked with Muric in the recent past.

The latest to be mentioned is Valencia and Argentina star Ever Banega, who could be available for around £20 million.

Reports in the British media are suggesting that the Mestalla outfit are willing to part company with the South American schemer, as their financial woes continue to burden the club.

United are thought to be admirers, but may have to wait until the end of the season to capture the former Boca Juniors man.

However, would Banega be a good option for United?

The first thing to state is that the 25-year-old is immensely talented, and on his day his vision, close control and skill can light up a match. He has the technique to beat players and looks to take up dangerous positions between the opposition midfield and defence.

Capped 24 times for Argentina since his debut in 2008, he is part of the current senior squad and is widely expected to participate for his nation in next summer’s World Cup.

This season he has been one of the brightest players for an under-par Valencia, who have struggled in La Liga. Banega has created three goals and scored one himself in his 12 outings this term for Los Che.

However, despite his ability, Banega has suffered from crippling inconsistency since his move to Spain. When on form he has the potential to dominate a game for his side, but this has been an all-too seldom occurrence.

His slight frame could be a concern given the more physical nature of the Premier League, and the Argentine has a wicked temper and a fiery temperament that could land him in hot water if he was treated aggressively by opponents.

In Valencia’s 4-2-3-1 formation Banega sits in the number ten role; a position taken up by Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford, with Shinji Kagawa also eyeing a spot behind a main striker.

With Banega lacking real pace to play on the wings and not a deep-lying player, just where he would fit into the United first team remains to be seen.

He is a gifted football who would add creativity to David Moyes’ squad, but there may well be better options out there for the Premier League champions.

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