Manchester United are reportedly plotting a £31 million bid for Atalanta midfielder Bryan Cristante as a potential replacement for Marouane Fellaini.

Jose Mourinho has made his worries surrounding Marouane Fellaini’s contract situation public. The Belgian looks set to leave Manchester United, with no development in contract talks between the player and the club. And while the Portuguese may not want Fellaini to leave, The Sun report that he is already putting succession plans in place.

Bryan Cristante is the name that has popped up on Manchester United’s radar. The Atalanta midfielder has been grabbing eyeballs with his unabashed style in the middle of the park and has been immense for the Serie A club after arriving on loan from SL Benfica.

The loan deal does include an option for Atalanta to make the move permanent with an outlay of £10 million (conflicting reports). But, with 8 goals already in just 17 appearances this season, the option looks more like a formality at this point. And while Atalanta fans may want their club to keep hold of the player, there could be an opportunity to earn some premium.

Manchester United are a club that have always resonated with their midfielders chipping in with important goals and a sizeable chunk of their team goals have always come from the players other than strikers. Of late though, goals from the midfield have dried up, with Fellaini one of the rare midfielders that pose danger.

Fellaini has managed to rise above critics and establish himself as a key member of the first-team squad under Jose Mourinho. But, with the Belgian looking to leave the club once his deal expires at the end of the season, Mourinho is scouring potential replacements.

Cristante has already shown his penchant for goals at Atalanta and with the Italian just 22, there is a scope of him becoming a long-term addition at Old Trafford. And with United looking to lodge a £31 million bid for the player, Atalanta could do a similar event as Real Madrid did in the case of Alvaro Morata, albeit with a slight difference.

The Italian outfit may choose to activate the option of making the move permanent for a mere £10 million and subsequently sell the player to Manchester United for the desired amount, making a healthy profit in between. A lot, though, will depend on whether United do manage to keep a hold of Fellaini.

The move will only see the light of the day if the Belgian does end up leaving the Red Devils – a prospect which has a greater chance of happening at this stage, than not. Mourinho seems ready for all possibilities and we could very well see Cristante arrive at Old Trafford, if everything goes accordingly.

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