Manchester United are hoping to agree a deal with Barcelona worth £15 million to sign Gerard Pique, but face competition from Chelsea, reports The Express.
Louis van Gaal is looking to strengthen his defensive line as an absolute priority in the January transfer window. Despite saying that he would not be active, reports suggest that he is quietly confident of signing two players in January.
While Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne is tipped to be one of them, it looks as though the former Red Devils, Pique, could join him. However, they face competition from Jose Mourinho if they wish to agree a deal this month.
Returning to Old Trafford
Pique was just making his way through Barcelona's ranks when Louis van Gaal ended his second spell as manager at the Nou Camp. The central-defender would finish his education at Manchester United before making a return to La Liga in 2008.
He has since won everything Spanish football has to offer and has been tipped to return to the Premier League in the near future. Manchester United's opening offer of £15 million is unlikely to tempt Luis Enrique into a sale, but will at least establish communications between respective officials.
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Manchester United have been forced to hand debuts to youth products Tyler Blackett, 20, and Paddy McNair, 19, this season with neither looking ready to take on Premier League attacks.
They are promising, but Van Gaal wants to make sure there is not too much pressure on the youngsters in these crucial development years. Pique would help to bring them through as a mentor, but also add much-needed quality to the defensive line.
But Chelsea look ready to rival any offer from Manchester United as Mourinho continues to hunt a replacement for the ageing John Terry. The captain has been in great form this season but, at 34-years-old, has limited time at the top remaining.