Manchester United have ramped up their interest in AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to new reports in Italy.
The in-demand Kessie, 24, is able to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from January, with his deal set to run down at the end of the season.
His uncertain future has led to several teams looking to swoop in for him in the hope of sealing a bargain free transfer, with United believed to be one of them.
Bringing in a new player in the middle of the pitch may be a priority for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because Paul Pogba might also find himself on the move.
Pogba, who has enjoyed a superb start to the season, is able to walk away from his club for free next summer, and an extension may be unlikely.
As a result, La Gazzetta dello Sport, via Calciomercato, claim United have set their sights on Kessie, who could be recruited as a replacement for Pogba.
His wage demands may prove a stumbling block for some sides, however, with Kessie said to be demanding an €8million (£6.8m) salary per year.
Milan are only able to stump up €6.5m (£5.6m), well below the expected figure, meaning they are at real risk of losing one of their prized assets.
But this would not be a problem for United, who have a track record of splashing the cash on lucrative contracts in their quest for silverware.
And Kessie could prove to be a worthwhile investment. He has been a regular performer for Milan since joining them from Atalanta in 2017.
With 147 league appearances under his belt, it is little wonder that Kessie is also reportedly being tracked by Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.
In a boost to each of the clubs, Kessie is thought to be keen on moving to the Premier League when his terms at the San Siro run down.
As reported by 90min, Kessie has snubbed the latest contract offer from Milan, with his heart now seemingly set on a high-profile switch to England.
He sees the style of play in the top-flight as a match for his own game, the same outlet adds, but Kessie would also have suitors elsewhere in the world.
PSG and Bayern Munich are both believed to made enquiries over him in the past.
For now, Milan are refusing to give up hope of keeping Kessie. Last week, head coach Stefano Pioli outlined his desire for the player to stay.
‘I would like Kessie to sign,’ he told the Italian media. ‘The negotiations go on between the club and his agent, and I don’t think it’s the time to worry.
‘With Franck, I only talk about matters relating to the pitch and I always see him as positive and serene, there are no problems.’