Barcelona 'want to sign' Manchester United star Marcus Rashford this summer, as they look to regenerate their squad before change is forced upon them by ageing players.
The Mirror, ahead of Tuesday night's Champions League clash between the two sides, report that the reigning Spanish champions are looking into a £100m bid for the young forward as Luis Suarez nears the end of his time as a top European striker.
However, previous reports from well-placed Spanish newspapers relied on the assumption that Rashford's contract runs out next summer, leaving him available for a knockdown fee this summer. That is not the case. United still have a 12-month extension clause they can (and will) activate to extend the England star until 2021.
That leaves Barça facing the prospect of shelling out at least £100m for Rashford which, given their relative need for prudence in the transfer market and the fact that Luis Suarez will be the unquestioned starter for at least the next season and possibly beyond, would be...a surprising outlay.
Meanwhile, talks on a new contract for the homegrown forward have progressed at Old Trafford, with The Mirror (them again, go figure) reporting last week that Rashford is 'expected' to sign a massive new deal worth a monster £300k per week; the same basic package that Wayne Rooney was on before his departure for Everton.
The timing of the report is also worth at least one upwardly inclined eyebrow; initially coming the day before United's biggest match of the season and surfacing on the day of – a crunch Champions League quarter final at Camp Nou with a 1-0 deficit carried over from last week's game at Old Trafford.
Exaggerated transfer rumours 'leaking' out are not unusual ahead of huge games between teams in Europe; although they more usually come from the opposing team's media. Still, anything for an exclusive, eh?