Manchester United are ready to offer record signing Angel di Maria to Barcelona as part of a stunning deal to sign Spain international Pedro.
This is according to Spanish newspaper AS, who claim Di Maria’s red card against Arsenal on Monday night was the final straw for United boss Louis van Gaal.
The report adds that there is a real chance the deal will happen, with Manchester United officials more than happy to strike an agreement with the Catalan giants.
Pedro and Di Maria both unhappy?
Pedro is reportedly unhappy at Barcelona and plans to make a decision over his future this summer. The chance to play for Manchester United - alongside compatriots David de Gea, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera - may appeal, despite considerable interest from Chelsea and Arsenal.
Di Maria is also understood to be considering his options at Manchester United, just seven months after completing his £59.7 million move from Real Madrid.
The Argentina international has failed to replicate his best form at Old Trafford and is unsettled in Manchester following a break-in attempt at his £4.1 million Prestbury mansion, which was put up for sale at the weekend.
Is Di Maria brave enough to join Barcelona?
It would come as little surprise if Di Maria was keen to leave English football this summer, but would he brave enough - as an ex-Real Madrid player - to make the move to Barcelona?
He owes nothing to Real Madrid - it was the Spanish club who decided to offload him, despite a wonderful season at the Bernabeu which culminated in Champions League glory - and the chance to play alongside his international teammate Lionel Messi would tempt any top footballer.
Barcelona boss Luis Enrique may regard Di Maria as a player who could provide some competition for Andres Iniesta, the Spanish maestro whose form has dipped this season.
There’s no doubt Di Maria could force his way into Barcelona’s starting line-up; the South American, despite his struggles at United, remains one of the world’s best players and a true match-winner on his day.
Pedro would not be an upgrade on Di Maria
But on the other hand: do Manchester United need Pedro - and is he an upgrade on their record signing?
The answer to that is a resounding no. Pedro is a quality player who could certainly be a useful asset for Manchester United, but he lacks the world-class ability of Di Maria.
Pedro is also a less versatile player; capable of playing on either flank but not in central midfield like Manchester United’s current No. 7.
It would be a major surprise if Van Gaal was already prepared to get rid of Di Maria - especially for the inferior Pedro - but much will ultimately depend on the player and how much he really wants to be at Old Trafford.
Manchester United fans: would you swap Pedro for Di Maria this summer? Have your say in the comments below!