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Jose Mourinho has identified two possible replacements for Michael Carrick next summer

Man United's midfield is set to become even stronger with the Special One deploying scouts to Spain and Italy

Not even a man of Michael Carrick’s majesty can go on forever.

Having been granted another season at Old Trafford by Jose Mourinho, it’s expected the 36-year-old midfielder will depart next summer.

And while United fans will be sad to see a long-serving player leave, it does mean they’ll likely have a new signing to get excited about.

***insert emotional piano music***

Rex Features
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***insert emotional piano music***

Mourinho has reportedly sent scouts to monitor the progress of two potential centre-midfielders — Radja Nainggolan and Saul Niguez.

The two players met recently in the Champions League during Roma and Atletico Madrid’s 0-0 draw in the Champions League.

United scouts were present at the Stadio Olimpico with the Special One said to be a admirer of both.

Two for the price of one

Reuters
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Two for the price of one

Neither are quite in the same mould as Carrick.

29-year-old Nainggolan is a combative engine who has his own style of tackling (a sort of sliding hook that means he often retains possession himself despite hitting the deck) and is considerably less composed than the United veteran.

The Belgian is prone to long-distance wonderstrikes and has one of the most distinctive looks in world football.

He’s also open about the fact that he smokes around ten cigarettes a day.

Never a dull moment

Reuters
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Never a dull moment

In contrast, Saul is the ultimate professional.

The 22-year-old Spaniard has emerged as a key player for Diego Simeone over the last two seasons despite playing through near constant pain.

A devastating blow to the kidney in 2015 meant he urinated blood after nearly every training session and game for two years.

His passing range is typically Spanish though he’s more prone to dribbling and arriving late in the box than the deep-lying Carrick.

He was also one of the best players at the Under-21 Euros in the summer

AFP or licensors
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He was also one of the best players at the Under-21 Euros in the summer

United’s magnetism is not to be underestimated but Saul has often spoke publicly about his loyalty to Atletico.

Earlier this year he signed a nine-year contract which would keep him in Madrid until 2026.

Both exciting prospects for United fans though the likelihood of them pulling off a deal for either player next summer is anyone’s guess.


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