Man Utd to watch two targets closely when Milan visit in Europa League

Date published: Saturday 27th February 2021 11:06 - Samuel Bannister

Hakan Calhanoglu will be one of two players Manchester United will be keeping a close eye on when they play AC Milan, a report claims.

United have been paired with Milan for the Europa League Round of 16 after the draw was made on Friday. Two clubs normally of Champions League calibre, it is the standout tie of the round.

Besides two giants of European football going head to head, there are a number of interesting sub-plots.

For example, on-loan Milan defender Diogo Dalot will get to play against his parent club United. Former Red Devils striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will also be returning to Old Trafford as an opponent.

But as well as players with a United past, there will also be those with a potential United future on display.

The Daily Express remind that United are interested in Milan attacking midfielder Calhanoglu, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.

In theory, the Turkey international is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside Italy now. As things stand, Milan are still trying to get him to renew.

There has been little progress so far though, thus putting him in the shop window for a number of admirers. Man Utd are among his main suitors.

Even though Bruno Fernandes has nailed down the attacking midfield role as his own, Calhanoglu represents a great opportunity as a free agent. And given his ability to play as a winger as well, United are keeping him in consideration.

He now faces an “audition”, the report says, when he visits Old Trafford on March 11th. He will be keen to show his potential future employers what he can do.

So far this season, Calhanoglu has two goals and eight assists in all competitions.

United also watching Donnarumma

Gianluigi Donnarumma Spezia v AC Milan February 2021

In addition to Calhanoglu, the report also names goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma as a player United are keeping tabs on.

The 22-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, and already has established himself as one of the best in his position in Serie A.

With years of experience under his belt, he seems destined for a great career. However, his immediate future may lie away from Milan.

If they cannot get him to extend his contract, he will also be free to walk away this summer. Like his teammate Calhanoglu, signing him for free would be a shrewd move.

United already have David De Gea and Dean Henderson in goal. But there are doubts about both of their futures.


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De Gea has been criticised for some errors in recent months. He has retained his place as first-choice, though – which in turn has led Henderson to consider his future.

Henderson rose through the academy ranks at Man Utd and was expected to play a bigger role after returning from a productive loan spell with Sheffield United.

However, he has not had the opportunities he would have wanted, so has not been able to kick on. Therefore, his future may also be up for question.

In the event that United need a new keeper, Donnarumma would be an interesting choice. However, they are not the only suitor, with Chelsea also long-term admirers of the Italian.

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