Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly eyeing a summer move for Manchester United's Michael Carrick as the Englishman could be a free agent at the end of the season.
According to Adrian Kajumba in the Mirror, Wenger is planning a "midfield overhaul" at the end of 2015-16, with Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky all set to move on, and Carrick is one of the Frenchman's targets to fill the empty spots.
The report added that Wenger has attempted to sign the 34-year-old three times before, first when he moved from West Ham United to Tottenham Hotspur in 2004, then when he joined the Red Devils in 2006 and again last summer.
Carrick has been a stalwart of United's first team since he moved to Old Trafford, but his current contract expires in the summer and manager Louis van Gaal recently refused to comment on whether he'd be offered an extension, per PA Sport's Paul Hirst:
Paul Hirst @hirstclass
LVG on Carrick contract talks: "I am always involved because I am the manager. I don’t discuss this with you."2016-2-12 13:13:46
He has played a more limited role for United this season after the summer purchases of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin, starting only 14 of the Red Devils' 26 Premier League games, per WhoScored.com.
However, the defensive midfielder remains a high-quality player and his importance to the United squad has hardly diminished, per Squawka Dave:
Statman Dave @StatmanDave
Under LvG, Man United have won 58% of their Premier League games with Carrick in the side compared to 33% without him. #MUFC2016-2-13 12:26:05
Despite his age, he arguably deserves at least another season's extension to his contract at Old Trafford and Wenger's reported interest is further proof of his continued quality.
At Arsenal he could be a fine addition to play alongside Francis Coquelin and the recently added Mohamed Elneny—a decent purchase, according to Bleacher Report's Dean Jones—both of whom still lack experience and could learn a lot from Carrick:
However, it would be a controversial move for Carrick to swap Manchester for north London, not only because of the long-term rivalry between United and Arsenal, but due to his previous links with the Tottenham.
Indeed, United would surely be loath to let Carrick move to a direct title rival and would surely prefer him to move abroad, perhaps to Major League Soccer, or to Paris Saint-Germain who have previously been linked with the veteran midfielder, per ESPN FC's Peter O'Rourke.
Per Kajumba, Wenger has other options in mind to bolster his midfield, the £25 million-rated Victor Wanyama of Southampton chief among them.
The 24-year-old would be a good long-term buy for Wenger as he is still yet to reach his peak, but there is no reason why Arsenal can't bring in both Wanyama and Carrick in the summer as the latter would arrive on a free transfer.