Manchester United ready to make fresh £16m move for 'new Xavi' to fill midfield void

Manchester United are ready to revive their interest in the 'new Xavi of Spanish football' by launching a January bid for Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke.

The 21-year old was on former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's radar last season after establishing himself at the heart of Atletico's midfield with a string of assured performances.

He has continued in the same vein this season, steering Atletico into second place in the league behind Barcelona and even forcing his way into the senior Spain team.

Impressive: Koke is the heart of Atletico's midfield

Impressive: Koke is the heart of Atletico's midfield

It has not gone unnoticed at Old Trafford, or at the Nou Camp, where Barcelona are still trying to adjust to having Atletico snapping at their heels, rather than Real Madrid.

Koke has an escape clause of just over £16 million and is attracting strong interest from United and Barcelona after maintaining a level of form that has led many to compare him with Nou Camp maestro Xavi.

United considered meeting the release figure for Ander Herrera during the summer but have noted a dip in his standards this season and may now switch to a player who has always been known as Koke, despite his full name being Jorge Resurreccion Merodio.

Rising star: Koke has been called up to the Spain squad

Rising star: Koke has been called up to the Spain squad

The technically-gifted 5ft 10in midfielder made his Atletico debut at 17 and has become such an intregral part of a rejuvenated Atletico side that David Moyes may have his work cut out persuading him to leave.

While United are in transition, Atletico are on the up and threatening to break up the Barca-Real dominance in La Liga, leaving Koke with a decision to make, should Old Trafford boss Moyes come calling.

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