Manchester United will reportedly target Thiago Alcantara only if their bid for Cesc Fabregas fails, and have been buoyed by the significant reduction in the Barcelona midfielder's £77 million release clause.
According to the Daily Mail, Fabregas remains the top target for the Premier League champions, who have placed Thiago as their back-up option should they fail to secure the signature of the former Arsenal captain before the transfer deadline.
Manchester United may, however, struggle to strike a deal for Fabregas, who has consistently stated his intention to stay at the Camp Nou and establish himself in Tito Vilanova's first-choice Barcelona side.
Should Barcelona refuse an approach from David Moyes for the 26-year-old Spain international, then the Manchester United boss will reportedly focus his attention on recruiting the highly-rated Thiago.
The 22-year-old would be a far cheaper option for Manchester United than Fabregas, particularly given the dramatic decrease in the release clause written into the player's contract with Barcelona.
It is claimed a buyout fee of £77 million was inserted into Thiago's deal when he signed it two years ago, although Barcelona's failure to meet the stipulations of the contract means he would be available to Manchester United for only £15 million.
The clause specifies that Thiago must feature for at least 30 minutes for Barcelona in 60 percent of their matches over the course of each season, but did so in only 15 of his appearances last term.
With Barcelona not holding up their part of the deal, this has prompted the huge reduction in Thiago's fee, and is likely to make the Spain under-21 a far more attractive prospect to potential suitors.