Manchester United have now spoken with Atletico Madrid about the possibility of signing Marcos Llorente after edging a step closer towards the capture of Bruno Fernandes.
Talks between United and Sporting Lisbon for Fernandes have taken a significant step forward and a deal is expected to completed soon and the player could be in the stands at Anfield to watch his new side take on league leaders Liverpool.
But rather than rest on their laurels, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already has another target in mind in the shape of Atletico man Llorente, whom the Red Devils wants to sign on an initial loan.
Solskjaer is in the market for midfielders with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay both sidelined by injuries and strenghtening the area has become one of United’s top priorities this month.
And according to the Manchester Evening News, Llorente has been targeted as a prime candidate with scouts travelling to watch him in recent weeks.
It’s now reported United have registered their interest with Atletico and are now awaiting their decision.
Llorente moved to Atletico from Real Madrid for £35million in the summer but has only started three of their 19 La Liga matches and only managed 16 minutes in the league and Champions League over the last eight weeks after falling out of favour with Atletico boss Diego Simeone.
As per the report, United are focusing on players lacking game-time at clubs in the major European leagues, and, with Llorente behind Saul Niguez, Thomas Teye, Koke and Hector Herrera in the Atletico midfield pecking order, he certainly fits the bill.
Solskjaer indicated United may have to explore the loan market this month with many clubs reluctant to sell and, speaking back in November, he said: “Not many clubs want to sell players that they would otherwise want to keep in January. Maybe one or two could be a loan deal but that is not a big money thing, it is just to help the team.”
Pogba faces a month on the sidelines after undergoing an operation on an ankle last week, while McTominay is out until around mid-to-late February after suffering a knee problem against Newcastle on Boxing Day.