Manchester United have joined Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool in exploring the potential signing of Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, 90min has learned.
All three clubs are looking to upgrade their midfield options going into next season and see an opportunity to sign the Croatian midfielder, who turns 29 in May, from the west London club.
Kovacic is set to enter the final year of his contract and while Chelsea are keen for the player to stay, extension talks have not yet progressed beyond initial stages. It's understood Kovacic and his representatives are weighing up options at present, with the possibility of staying in England now on the table even in the event of a departure from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are looking to address the balance of their squad this summer by offloading a number of players, after making 17 signings over the past year since a change in ownership. The Blues have also undergone massive organisational changes off the pitch, and are also introducing new practices with their decisions on contracts for new and current players.
A noticeable trend has been particularly long deals for new signings such as Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez, while Reece James signed a new six-year deal in September 2022.
But Chelsea are also looking to ensure no player leaves on a free transfer in future seasons, as reported by 90min earlier this month, and that may inevitably mean some first team players are sold if new contract agreements are not reached. Chelsea's ownership want to avoid players entering the final two years of their deals in an ideal scenario.
Mason Mount is perhaps the most high profile player out of contract in 2024 at risk of being sold, though Kovacic is in a similar position. Chelsea's domestic rivals have taken encouragement that deals to take players from Chelsea can be reached in line with the Blues' new policies, with Jorginho's sale to Arsenal acting as recent proof that there is a willingness for such deals on Chelsea's side.