Manchester United appear to have made Ross Barkley one of their primary January transfer targets, with reports from the Manchester Evening News suggesting that David Moyes wants to be at the head of the queue for Everton's talented midfielder.
The same reports suggest that the reigning Premier League champions believe that a bid of around £50 million will be enough to draw the Merseyside outfit into negotiations - but they know that any deal next month will be difficult to complete.
Barkley, the 20-year-old who has positively flourished this season under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park after largely disappointing loan spells in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United, has quickly become an integral part of an Everton side that look to be mounting a serious bid for Champions League qualification this season.
Manchester United, whose narrow 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday saw them rise to sixth in the Premier League table, endured a difficult summer in the transfer market that saw them endure a subsequently underwhelming start to the 2013/14 campaign.
With the likes of Anderson and Tom Cleverley doing little to prove their long-term worth at Old Trafford, it seems likely that Manchester United will look to address their often chronic lack of midfield creativity when the transfer window re-opens in the new year.
Although recent reports have suggested that Atletico Madrid starlet and Spain international Koke is the number one object of their affections, Moyes obviously worked with Barkley extensively during his reign as Everton boss and United's apparent interest in the player should not come as much of a shock.
However, £50 million seems somewhat of an extortionate fee for a player yet to prove himself at the highest level over a sustained period of time and it certainly could be argued that such money could be better spent elsewhere.