Athletic Bilbao star Iker Muniain has told the club he wants to postpone talks over a renewed contract, increasing doubts over his future at the club, reports Spanish news outlet Vozpopuli.
Manchester United are one of several clubs believed to be monitoring the progress of Muniain's contract talks. The Red Devils have been tracking the 21-year-old ever since he orchestrated a famous 5-3 aggregate win over them in the Europa League.
Despite the fact that David Moyes has replaced Sir Alex Ferguson the interest has been retained and the latest news in that he could be available for a cut price in the summer or potentially free next year.
Munian's current deal expires in June 2015 and the Basque club have been keen to tie down the star for a number of months and slap on a release clause of between €36 million and €45 million.
But Munian has decided to delay talks until the summer and now leaves Bilbao with a tough decision to make. They can either retain the player and hope he agrees to sign a new deal but risk losing him for free next summer. Or they could cash in on him and hope to cash in on his current £16m evaluation.
Manchester United have plenty of money to spend this summer – €180m, according to some media outlets – and would have no problem meeting that figure if needs be.
The young forward would be a welcome addition at Old Trafford and could be a viable replacement for Javier Hernandez should the Mexican depart as expected this summer.
However, Bilbao have little value for money as their strict rules only allow them to play players from the Basque region. They will struggle to reinvest the money generated from Munian's potential sale and may opt to retain him in the hope he will sign a new contract.
But Moyes is already cutting the shape of a determined figure ahead of the summer transfer window and seems to have no qualms about launching big bids for his targets. The United manager has already agreed to pay Sporting Lisbon £37m for William Carvalho as he looks to rectify his mistakes in last summer's window.