The Germany international came close to arriving at Old Trafford under David Moyes, only for Louis van Gaal to veto the deal once taking over as Man United manager.
Carrick’s transition to Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff next season, along with the increasingly likely prospect of Marouane Fellaini leaving for free, has intensified the need for midfield reinforcements at United.
And according to the Daily Mail, United remain keen on landing Kroos, who is open to a new challenge having been at the Bernabeu for four years, as a replacement for Carrick once the Englishman hangs up his boots.
The departure of Carrick will be diminishing for United to say the least. While his continued presence at Carrington will be valuable, the galling prospect of losing his metronomic, balancing, calming influence on the pitch – that sense of football played differently, as if mainly with the brain rather than feet – cannot be underestimated.
But Kroos, a man who simply oozes precision and balance, could well be the perfect player to slot in at the base of midfield. He would crucially take the load off Nemanja Matic, whose performances at United have at times been impacted by fatigue, and give Mourinho a more solid platform from which to dominate games and shift the ball quickly.
Where Mourinho’s preferences lie at the moment is a mystery, of course, but you sense he would need to treat Kroos as his main target and come at Madrid with all guns blazing to prize him away from their grasp.