Manchester United manager David Moyes will make a Jan. 1 move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, according to the Mirror's David Maddock.
The report suggests Moyes has made two personal scouting checks on the Spain international, who has a €35 million release clause written into his contract.
1) David Moyes is ready to move for his top £30m target on the FIRST DAY of the transfer window http://t.co/YfwfTbGB8g— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) December 26, 2013
David Moyes will make a stunning £30m raid for Spanish sensation Koke as soon as the transfer window opens next week.
The Manchester United manager made two personal checks on the 21 year old, and was so impressed that he has sanctioned a massive bid to land the attacking midfielder on January 1.
Moyes jetted out last week to watch the Atletico Madrid midfielder in person for the second time, after making the 21 year old star his number one target in the New Year.
There is no doubting that Koke is an excellent young player and Red Devils fans will be delighted to be linked with one of the standout young midfielders in European football at present. However, there is good reason to believe the club are wasting their time in any pursuit.
While United could almost certainly increase the youngster's income significantly, he has a realistic chance of earning silverware with Atletico this campaign and is highly unlikely to turn his back on the opportunity.
Diego Simeone's side lie level on points with Barcelona after 17 games of the La Liga season and have lost just once domestically, while also advancing to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
The club, therefore, would almost certainly refuse to sell for anything less than the release clause, while the player himself would be reluctant to forfeit a shot at La Liga glory.
Next summer's World Cup is also an added complication, with Koke having forced himself into the Spain setup since the start of the season.
Manchester United contacts with Atletico for Koke intensively strengthened in last week. So much,that would be weird not to see them bidding— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) December 26, 2013
While moving to England would not hinder his chances of going to Brazil, it would be a risk to move to a new environment ahead of the tournament. Instead, from the player's perspective, it makes far more sense to delay a move until the summer when offers will arrive once more.
Moyes, then, faces a far from straightforward task in convincing the Spaniard to switch to Old Trafford—where Champions League football next season is also far from guaranteed.
Were United to miss out on a top-four place for next season, the chances are their finances and reputation would mean they could still secure Koke's signature in the summer window.
That is where the club should be focusing their efforts: the summer. No player turns his back on a title challenge and Champions League adventure mid-season. If United are convinced the Atletico man is the right player to take the club forward, they should strengthen elsewhere in January and wait patiently for Koke.
After a summer in which the club missed out on a number of high-profile targets, doing so in such public fashion once again would be highly embarrassing for Moyes and the United managerial team.