Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Fiorentina's Milan Badelj but face competition from Tottenham and Chelsea for the midfielder's signature. United are believed to have sent scouts to run the rule over the Croatian in recent months and are monitoring him ahead of the summer transfer window.
Badelj has been in impressive form for Fiorentina this season but his contract with La Viola expires in 18 months. Reports in Italy, relaid by talkSPORT, suggest that United, Spurs and Chelsea could all make moves for the talented Croatian in the summer. The 27-year-old's agent, Dejan Joksimovic, stated that his client will not be signing a new deal with Paulo Sousa's men and Calciomercato claims Fiorentina have reportedly placed a £12.7m price tag on their coveted midfielder.
Antonio Conte is seemingly keen to bolster his side's midfield options at the end of the current campaign. Chelsea failed in their pursuit of Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan last summer and have been linked with a move for Atlanta prodigy Franck Kessie in recent weeks. Chelsea allowed Oscar and club stalwart John Obi Mikel to leave for the Chinese Super League in January but they still have an abundance of talented central midfielders available to them in the form of N'Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Manchester United are in need of a long-term replacement for the influential but ageing Michael Carrick. The 35-year-old's contract expires in the summer but is still an important part of the first team set-up at Old Trafford; United have only lost one of the 19 matches that Carrick has featured in this season.
Tottenham have one of the Premier League's strongest midfield partnerships in the form of Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama but they only have youngsters Joshua Onomah and Harry Winks in reserve. Mauricio Pochettino could well be tempted to bolster his engine room with Badelj, who is the national teammate of former Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric.
Manchester United and Tottenham may be keeping an eye on developments with Badelj but their immediate focus is on the Europa League. United host Saint-Etienne in the first leg of their last-32 tie while Spurs are set to face Belgian outfit Gent at the Ghelamco Arena. Chelsea, free of European commitments this season, are preparing to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday (18 February).