Manchester United have made contact with the representatives of Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos, with a view to sounding out the Brazilian defender over a summer switch to Old Trafford.
That is according to French news agency RMC Sport, who report Marquinhos has emerged as a priority transfer target for the Red Devils as they search for a commanding centre-back capable of producing at Old Trafford during his peak years.
Marquinhos certainly won't come cheap though, with PSG paying just over £30 million for the Brazilian 18 months ago. The 20-year-old is under contract at the Parc des Princes until 2018, which means United will have to pay a premium to sign the promising youngster if they truly see him as capable of bringing some semblance of leadership to their defensive efforts in the long-term.
Worth the trouble
There's no question that Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal will move swiftly to strengthen his backline this summer, with the likes of Chris Smalling and Tyler Blackett failing to convince during an experimental first season in charge.
Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummes is almost certainly his top target in that problem position, but with the World Cup winner proving very difficult to get is a younger option in Marquinhos worth shelling out the big bucks for?
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Understudy would surely welcome firs-team football
Marquinhos is a hugely talented defender with the pace and power to cope with the demands of playing at the highest level, but at this moment in time has to settle for the role of understudy to PSG's first-choice centre-back pairing of countrymen David Luiz and Thiago Silva.
The former Roma youngster has still played 15 times in Ligue 1 this season, but if the situation doesn't change he's likely to seek a star role elsewhere.
PSG are currently locked in talks to extend the Samba star's contract, with negotiations thought to be progressing well, but if United get their way any fresh terms will be rendered redundant when a big money summer bid is on the table and Financial Fair Play constraints are taken into account.