Ten Hag eyes ‘sensational’ La Liga man as Casemiro successor for Man Utd, but Chelsea want signing too

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has reportedly decided on who he wants to replace Casemiro in a few years’ time, although the Red Devils will face competition from Chelsea for the signing.

Casemiro had two spells at Real Madrid, either side of a season-long stint at Portuguese outfit FC Porto. He enjoyed huge success with Real, helping them to win five Champions League trophies and three La Liga titles, among other accolades.

The Brazilian formed a dominant midfield partnership with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. They played a huge role in helping Real to lift three successive Champions League crowns between 2016 and 2018, under the guidance of manager Zinedine Zidane.

After 336 appearances in the famous white shirt, Casemiro left Real in the summer to join Man Utd. As per Sky Sports, Ten Hag’s side paid Real an initial £60m for the midfield enforcer, plus £10m in add-ons.

He had a slow start to life in the Premier League. Ten Hag opted to keep him out of the starting lineup initially so he could gradually get used to the English game.

Casemiro soon made his way into the side though and is now one of Man Utd’s most integral players. He has put in several top performances this campaign, helping Man Utd move up to fifth in the Prem.

The 30-year-old will be pivotal if Man Utd are to pick up their first piece of silverware since 2017. However, club chiefs must also get looking at possible long-term successors due to his age.

And it seems they have found one in La Liga. According to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Man Utd have put Martin Zubimendi on their wish list.

Man Utd-linked midfielder called ‘sensational’

The one-cap Spain international is enjoying a brilliant season with Real Sociedad. His sturdy performances in central midfield have helped them go third in La Liga, behind only Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Mundo Deportivo go as far as calling him ‘sensational’. And now a big move for Zubimendi could be beckoning.

His great form has alerted Ten Hag, who ‘likes him very much’ and wants him to replace Casemiro at Man Utd in the next few years.

Unfortunately for Ten Hag, he is not the only one who has been impressed by Zubimendi. Chelsea boss Graham Potter has apparently been ‘dazzled’ by the 23-year-old. Due to this, Chelsea could submit a bid for him in 2023.

Despite talk N’Golo Kante may now stay at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea still need a new midfielder to arrive at the club. And Zubimendi could be a great option.

Interest in the Sociedad star also comes from their Spanish rivals Barca. As Sergio Busquets is in the twilight years of his career, Xavi is looking at Zubimendi as a potential solution.

Whichever club ends up landing him will have to match his full release clause. This stands at €60m (currently £53.1m). Sociedad will not accept anything less than this.

Man Utd, Chelsea or Barca will also need to convince Zubimendi on the move. Of course, they can offer him the potential to play at a higher level and possibly win trophies. Having said that, Zubimendi has a close bond with Sociedad given the fact he came through their academy and is now one of their most important players.

As such, the club that wins the race for him will need to let him know he is going to start every big game, rather than spending most of his time on the bench.

Meanwhile, a report claims a Real Madrid ace is ‘stalling’ over a new deal and this could result in a mind-blowing transfer to Man Utd or Arsenal.

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