Spanish newspaper and website AS claims that Louis van Gaal is eyeing a move for former Manchester United defender Gerard Pique this winter.
The centre-back, who has become synonymous with Barca’s recent success, is thought to be out of favour and unhappy over the way he’s been used by new boss Luis Enrique.
Manchester United need a new centre-back to try and add some steel and resilience into their backline and AS reckons Pique could be that man.
“Manchester United recognises his current problems and the machinery is in place to try and secure his move in January next year,” reports AS.
AS also points out the significance of Sir Alex Ferguson still being around Old Trafford, the man partially responsible for the development of Pique into the player he has become.
Some have called the decision to let Pique go back to Barcelona one of the worst that Fergie ever made, but in each instance where a player has held an emotional connection with a club away from Old Trafford, the Scot didn’t stand in the way.
“They understand the player could be available and it’s important that Ferguson is still around the squad.”
So what are Manchester United’s realistic chances of getting a deal done?
Enrique may be reluctant to lose a key and experience player when his only summer arrivals were Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia and Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal.
Barca were unable to sign a more heavyweight defender such as Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund and that could make the boss less likely to let Pique leave because of the experience and profile he possesses.
He’s also on an extremely long contract, expires in 2019, which will make a deal difficult for two reasons.
Firstly, it means Barca are under no pressure to sell and secondly, it means United will have to pay a big fee if AS’ report of their interest is accurate.
United have proven they have great financial strength but the spending may have to be drawn back in if missing out on the Champions League for another season becomes more realistic.
It’s a nice story for Manchester United fans but it’s may be too difficult for this move to happen.