Manchester United maintains their interest in Tottenham attacking midfielder Luka Modric, but have also turned their attention elsewhere. According to the Daily Mail, the Red Devils are also keeping an eye on Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
Adding talent to the Red Devil side is important. They outperformed last season's expectations, tied for first in the English Premier League table and did so while in the midst of rebuilding.
Continuing that momentum next season will be important, and expected. Bringing a major talent into their midfield will be a major step in that direction.
Alcantara is one of Europe's most promising young players, but he is still largely unproven. He has not received much time behind Xavi and Cesc Fabregas, and has scored five goals in three seasons with the elite La Liga club.
Modric is Alcantara's elder by five years (26 compared to 21), but he has a proven track record with the EPL's Tottenham Spurs.
Both players are extremely dangerous in the offensive end, but Modric makes more sense. Let's look at each player and why Manchester United would be smart to focus on one of these supremely talented players.
Alcantara, or Thiago for football purposes, had two goals and three assists in 27 La Liga games this season.
He isn't an elite goal-scoring threat, but he makes up for that in almost every other area.
Thiago can hold the ball, for what seems like forever. He has elite vision, and he can devastate a defense with a precise long-range pass. He is a gifted facilitator, and would fit seamlessly into the Red Devil attack.
But his experience should be a concern. I understand that young players must start somewhere, but how much faith can you put in a player with limited professional experience?
Thiago would face major expectations next season. Manchester United's largest weakness this past season was their central midfield, and he would be expected to provide a quick fix.
His price tag will be steep because of his talent and considerable upside, but the Red Devils are not the right fit for this budding superstar.
Thiago owns an advantage over any aging midfielder, but Modric is only 26. His added experience should be viewed as a luxury to the Red Devil brass.
Modric's size hinders his ability to deliver standout performances, but he is among the world's most exciting distributors. He has incredible quickness in the open field, and he has a feathery passing touch.
The Red Devils would be smart to pair Modric with Michael Carrick in the midfield. Their midfield was thin last season with the injuries to Anderson, Darren Fletcher and Thomas Cleverely. Adding Modric would solidify their biggest need this offseason.
Modric's experience in the EPL is huge. He has made 127 appearances with Tottenham since 2008, and he has 50-plus international appearances on top of that. He is the perfect blend of youth and experience.
Surrounding Modric with elite talent will only improve his game play. His success relies on his teammates' ability to finish his passes.
The Red Devils will be tempted by Thiago's youth and mystery, but Modric's skill and experience should shine brighter in their eyes.