Manchester United are determined to take as hard a negotiation position as possible with Real Madrid over David De Gea this summer, and are likely to insist on a star player like Toni Kroos going the other way if the goalkeeper has to go.
There is a growing feeling the 26-year-old will want to return to his home city at the end of the season, having seen a move to the Bernabeu fall down right at the end of the 2015 summer transfer window, but the Old Trafford hierarchy intend to take an even tougher line than then.
United have already investigated potential replacements like Internazionale’s Samir Handanovic and AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, although it is understood De Gea is not yet certain about what he wants to do, a situation similar to Real’s own alternative target of Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois.
Given that the Spaniard signed a new contract shortly after the breakdown of that 2015 transfer, United feel in a much stronger position, and do not think they have to bend to Real’s will.
The Old Trafford club do not need the money either so, if it is felt it is ultimately better to let De Gea go because the player wants it, the insistence will be on a Real star coming in return.
United manager Jose Mourinho wants to reshape his midfield, and especially wants a passer as a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, so Kroos will be broached as an option.
It is also understood the Portuguese has expressed an interest in Casemiro, but Real Madrid are unwilling to sell him, due to the premium on his position right now.