Manchester United have been tipped to lose out in the race for talented Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt before it has even properly started, all because the emerging Dutch defender is represented by none other than 'super agent' Mino Raiola.
Raiola famously delivered Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016, but that relationship now appears to be strained as a result of the alleged 'war' between Pogba and manager Jose Mourinho that has been bubbling away.
A report from The Sun therefore questions whether it could actually kill United's chances of landing 19-year-old De Ligt, who has been playing regular first team football since 2017 and is already serving as Ajax vice-captain despite his tender age.
United are in the market for a centre-back and De Ligt certainly looks to fit the bill, yet the tabloid suggests that the Old Trafford club are 'considered to be out of the race' because of Raiola's involvement with the player.
That could hand a huge boost to locals rivals and reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, who are also being heavily linked with the Dutch international. A report from Goal notes that sporting director Txiki Begiristain has travelled to Amsterdam for talks on 'several occasions', while City would likely come out on top in any bidding war between suitors.
Barça have been more heavily linked with De Ligt's Ajax colleague Frenkie de Jong in recent weeks, but MD notes that a centre-back is a much more urgent requirement at Camp Nou.
It has been claimed that Ajax will demand a combined €130m to part with De Ligt and De Jong.