Arsenal and Manchester United face fresh competition in the race to sign Croatian starlet Mateo Kovacic.

The Dinamo Zagreb starlet has been linked with a handful of clubs across Europe, with Roma and Juventus the latest teams to join the race for the player dubbed 'the next Messi' in his homeland.

Manchester United have scouted the player twice in succession in the last week, according to reports, with Sir Alex Ferguson appearing to take a keen interest in the 17-year-old.

Arsene Wenger is also a known admirer of the player, with the Arsenal boss also thought to have got his scouting team to take a closer look at the player, and agent Marcel Kacinari believes the English clubs are currently in prime position.

"I will not hide the fact there was interest from Juventus a couple of months ago but nothing since then," Kovacic's representative told Goal.com.

"It is most likely that he will go to England where the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United are leading the race. Dinamo Zagreb have done business in the past with several Premier League teams.

"Those clubs [Arsenal and Manchester United] are spending a lot of money investing in young talent and have the patience to wait.

"All the major European clubs are following him and with him playing against Real Madrid on Wednesday, the list of suitors will increase."


 

The Red Devils invested heavily in youth this summer, bringing Phil Jones and David de Gea to Old Trafford to play alongside the likes of Manchester United academy graduates Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck.

With a clear emphasis on creating a dominant team for years to come, Kovacic would fit the bill at Manchester United given his age and potential.

Arsenal also have a track record of developing young talent in north London though, with Cesc Fabregas an obvious example after joining the club as a teenager and flourishing under Wenger.

The Frenchman has a history of developing players to their maximum potential at the Emirates, and therefore offer Kovacic an interesting predicament should he wish to make a Barclays Premier League switch.

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