As Manchester United's search for a midfielder continues, a surprise link with a young prospect has emerged.
Step forward Saphir Taider, a 21-year-old midfielder who plays for Bologna.
Born in France, Taider is an Algerian international with four caps, and two goals to boot - against Rwanda and Benin.
His agent has revealed United's interest in the player, telling the Italian press: "Saphir is someone who spits blood when he plays. He’s working just as hard right now, but he needs to be treated with respect.
“In football, you should be paid in relation to your performances. You, as well as us, know how much the boy is worth, how he works hard and how important he is to Bologna’s play.
“We see other players at Bologna getting adjustments to their salaries, but nothing for him. If Bologna value him at €18m, then how is it possible that they are paying him as if he is worth nothing?
“He deserves more money and I wouldn’t be doing my job correctly if I didn’t ask Bologna to improve his agreement. If a club like Manchester United is interested in one of your players then you have to give him what he deserves if you want him to stay. Right now, Saphir is not happy."
It's a quite cutting statement from the agent, whose player has this summer been linked with Inter Milan and prior to that Bayern Munich. At one stage he was even co-owned by Juventus, before Bologna bought him outright in 2012.
Taider made 32 Serie A starts last season from midfield, scoring three times and creating two others. He plays mainly centrally but last season was asked at times to fill in on both the left and right hand side. His contract presently runs until 2015.
Looking at this one it's a bit of a surprise link. Taider is quite a raw prospect at the moment, and the sort of money his club are asking is well above his current market value. It's unlikely he would be a name which would appease fans who had been excited by the club chasing Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas.
It sounds like an increasingly bitter situation between Bologna, Taider, and his agent. And it also sounds like United are being used, rather than proactively chasing him.
This is not a deal we expect to go through, as much as the player's agent may wish otherwise.
image: © Paolo Camera