Mateo Kovacic
Kovacic is hoping to move to United 'when the time is right.' REUTERS

A source close to Mateo Kovacic has revealed that Manchester City are chasing the star, but the playmaker would prefer a move to Manchester United when the time is right to leave current club Dinamo Zagreb.

Kovacic has starred for the Croatian outfit since moving through the side's youth ranks and into the seniors last year. In 21 appearances, the 17 year old has scored four goals, and is touted as a future European talent by numerous big names.

Manchester United have long been interested in Kavacic, and while City have sent scouts to watch the youngster, a source believes that United is his only likely destination.

"Manchester City is an exciting project and a wonderful club that interests Mateo," they told of the £10 million-rated player. "But at the moment, he would rather move to Manchester United when the right time comes to leave.

"He is only 17 so right now he needs to play and grow as a player."

United have insisted that they will not be signing any new players in the January transfer window, though Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that he has 'two or three' targets in mind.

And with Kovacic already showing so much potential, the starlet will be at the forefront of Ferguson's plans as he looks to build on a United squad with long-term ambitions to keep challenging for trophies.

Yesterday Ferguson admitted that he is planning to send youngsters Mame Biram Diouf and Federico Macheda on loan in the January transfer window.

"It works well for all young players to get game time and that's what we are looking at for Macheda and Diouf, they need game time, there is no question about that. Every young players wants to play and we have to give them that opportunity," he said.

If United were to sign Kovacic, the Croatia Under 21 international will likely be sent on loan to build on game time before he can return to Old Trafford on a full time basis.