Manchester United have been tracking William Carvalho all season, but face competition from La Liga giants.
Reports in Spain state that Barcelona and Real Madrid are monitoring the Sporting Lisbon midfielder, who has a €45m release clause in his contract.
Arsenal have also previously been linked but Manchester United have always been thought of as frontrunners.
Carvalho has recently been called up into the Portuguese national squad, and has been compared to Patrick Vieira in style.
Of the teams in the hunt for him, it is United who have the greatest need. While Barcelona lack a physical midfielder in the mould of Yaya Toure who they sold three-and-a-half years ago, their style has not dictated they need one.
When Barcelona go up against City however in the Champions League, if their former player comes back to haunt them - new boss Tata Martino could well decide to shake things up, and scouting Carvalho now may be their due diligence just in case.
Manchester United may well be concerned by the news. Currently they have an uphill task to secure Champions League football for next season, while their competitors for Carvalho's signature appear to have it sewn up already.
It has been speculated that United may send Nani back to Sporting in a bid to negotiate a first option deal on Carvalho's signature.
In light of the increased competition for their target's signature, sending the winger back may soon become a priority.
image: © danheap77