Manchester United are looking to conduct a sensational swap deal with Barcelona with Anthony Martial and Ivan Rakitic heading in opposite directions.
That claim comes from Diario Gol, who have reported that a shock switch could be on the cards if United boss Jose Mourinho can lure La Blaugrana into accepting the deal.
The Portuguese gaffer is said to be a firm admirer of Rakitic's talents and, despite the fact that the playmaker will be 30 next March, would have no problem with bringing him to Old Trafford.
Mourinho will attempt to persuade Barcelona to part with the Croatia international by offering Martial in exchange, but there are major question marks over the validity of such a swap.
In spite of rumours that Rakitic's time at Nou Camp could be up, the midfielder's appearances for the Catalan giants have not receded in the past couple of seasons.
Indeed, Rakitic has featured in 11 matches for Barca so far in 2017/18 under new manager Ernesto Valverde and, coupled with the 51 appearances he made last term, shows that he is still very much in favour in Catalonia.
Lionel Messi watches Anthony Martial Youtube comps before games— José (@MourinhoMindset) October 10, 2017
Rakitic had reportedly been unhappy under Valverde's managerial predecessor Luis Enrique, but seemingly has no intention of leaving or being sold with regular game time for his club at present.
Martial, meanwhile, has had to contend with his own apparent wantaway speculation since Mourinho took over in Manchester.
The France forward's attitude was questioned by Mourinho last season as rumours circulated of a potential move to La Liga with Villarreal, but the 21-year-old has knuckled down and impressed for the Red Devils during the current campaign.
People need to stop with swap deal rumors. THEY NEVER HAPPEN!— Olivier Jean Marie (@JFOlivierJM) October 12, 2017
Martial's haul of five goals and six assists in nine appearances means he is a man back in form, and appears to be relishing the battle for a place in United's attack.
The ex-Lyon starlet has to compete with Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for a starting berth but is not looking for an easy way out by switching clubs.