Manchester United are readying a £31million bid for Atalanta ace Bryan Cristante as a replacement for Marouan Fellaini.
The Belgian midfielder looks certain to leave Old Trafford after rejecting the latest contract offer.
And, despite Jose Mourinho preferring Fellaini to stay, he is moving quickly to ensure a replacement is brought in immediately.
Cristante is on loan from Benfica , but Atalanta have the option to sign him permanently for £10m at the end of the season, and could trigger that before immediately selling him on to United for triple the price.
He is one of a number of young Italian stars, who are impressing in Serie A .
However, he has left his best performances for Europe, scoring three of his side’s eight in their two meetings with Everton.
Juventus , Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid all keen on Cristante, 22, but will not pay Atalanta’s £31m asking price.
And that puts United in pole position.
Cristante would be keen to move to the Premier League and for the chance to play alongside one of his idols in Paul Pogba.
Atalanta have helped produce a number of young stars in recent seasons with Roberto Gagliardini joining Inter, Mattia Caldara signing for Juventus and AC Milan swooping for Andrea Conti.
Cristante actually started his career with the Rossoneri, replacing Kaka for his debut in 2014.
After just one season at Milan, he signed for Portuguese giants Benfica, but has been sent on loan three times.
This has undoubtedly been his breakthrough campaign with eight goals in 17 appearances despite Atalanta’s struggles in Serie A.
Cristante made his Italy debut in a disappointing World Cup-qualifying 1-1 draw at home against Macedonia.