Manchester United winger target James Rodriguez is being linked with a move to Barcelona.
Portuguese publications Record and A Bola claim that the Catalan giants have been impressed by the FC Porto star, who has been dubbed ‘the new Cristiano Ronaldo’ by certain sections of the British media.
Scouts from the Nou Camp have been in attendance on a regular basis at the Estadio do Dragao this season, watching striker Jackson Martinez as well as his Colombian teammate Rodriguez, according to the report.
It’s Rodriguez who has been appealing to Manchester United however, with the Red Devils also sending scouts to watch the player on a number of occasions this season, according to Record earlier in the week.
The Daily Mail also reported last week that Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to ‘step-up’ his interest in the 21-year-old, but was told the player’s release clause has now risen to £36 million.
That’s substantially more than Manchester United paid for Ronaldo in 2003, although the teenager had less experience when moving to Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon almost a decade ago.
The Portuguese superstar got his hands on plenty of silverware during his time at Manchester United though, and was sold five years later for a huge profit - Real Madrid spending £80 million on the 100-cap international.
Rodriguez would have huge boots to fill if he made the same move from Portugal to the Premier League, although the interest of the La Liga giants could throw a major spanner in the transfer works.
Tito Villanova is looking to make his own individual mark on the Barcelona side after taking over from Pep Guardiola in the summer, and Rodriguez would certainly help him do that if he were enticed into a Spanish move.