Reports which claim Manchester United have been rejected by Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic are incorrect as the club have no interest in the player.

United bolstered their midfield with the £50m signing of Fred and extended Marouane Fellaini’s contract this summer; with Andreas Pereira at the club with no immediate plans to loan him out, midfield is one area where Jose Mourinho does not intend to strengthen his outfield.

That did not stop Spanish outlet Marca claiming that United made an eye-watering offer of 60m euros for Kovacic; United, who had been linked with Sergio Milinkovic-Savic earlier in the summer, are well covered for senior players in the middle of the park, but Marca went one step further by claiming Kovacic had actually turned United down because he was ‘concerned about the style of play’ under United manager Mourinho.

The erroneous rumour has provoked another outpouring of opinion pieces proclaiming doom and gloom, accepting the news as fact despite the severe improbability of it. Benjamin Barksworth of “Playingfor90” felt justified in writing this entire piece dedicated to what he described as a ‘negative image’.

Barksworth describes the ‘rejection’ as ‘a real blow’ to a club who already have Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Fred in midfield and claims Mourinho’s ‘antagonistic approach has alienated key players’.

Furthermore, Barksworth claims – presumably with the benefit of insider information – that ‘United have missed out on a major opportunity due to Mourinho. A progressive manager with fresh exciting ideas is needed to bring the best out of the team and attract top players. There is certainly a talented squad to work with.’

It’s a stunning report from Benjamin Barksworth, and one can presume it’s only a matter of time before more serious media outlets report his findings.

It is widely accepted that Mourinho’s stature in the game was a big reason for attracting Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the club, while as recently as January, Alexis Sanchez chose United over Champions-elect City.

If Barksworth’s claims are true, and a player like Kovacic is now turning down a move to United because of Mourinho, it will surely be impossible for the club to be able to attract any name that will help them progress.

As real journalist Martin Samuel stated on Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement, all statistics reveal that Manchester United remain the country’s major traffic driver in terms of football. Ironic, as it appears to be this very fact that influenced Barksworth to write his story; perhaps Mourinho will affect United’s reputation so much that he will be forced to write about a different club.