Manchester United have moved ahead of Chelsea in the race to sign highly-rated Brazilian midfielder Gerson this summer, but must pay a whopping £22 million to bring the Fluminense youngster to Old Trafford.
According to talkSPORT the 17-year-old has attracted admiring glances from a host of top European clubs with Juventus and Barcelona also credited with an interest in acquiring the South American starlet's signature.
Despite his tender age, Gerson has already made a senior breakthrough at the Maracana Stadium, making 12 appearances for Ricardo Drubscky's side this season and contributing four goals.
Capped at youth international level, the talented teenager currently represents Brazil's U20s and has been widely tipped back in his homeland to go on to have a very bright future in the game with his burgeoning reputation having been enhanced even further following a series of impressive performances in Rio de Janeiro.
Fluminense want to keep Gerson until the end of next season at least, but would be prepared to listen to offers of €30 million or more, providing any of the player's suitors are willing to fork out such a significant fee for a relatively unproven prospect.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is renowned for his philosophy of working with young players but might struggle to convince Old Trafford chiefs that it's worth spending so much money on Gerson, particularly in light of the struggles endured by many other up-and-coming players from that part of the world after moving to the Theatre of Dreams.
Barcelona are another club famous for their youth development, but Gerson is already too old to benefit from the Catalan giants' La Masia academy. The fact Luis Enrique is unable to negotiate any deals until their UEFA imposed transfer ban has been lifted in 2016 also puts them at a significant disadvantage when it comes to negotiations this summer.
Jose Mourinho could lodge a rival bid to lure the player to west London and would point towards the increasing contingent of Brazilian players at Stamford Bridge as reason to suggest that Gerson would settle in best with the Blues.
However, it's Manchester United that remain the frontrunners after senior scouts returned positive reports on the player, having watched him in action for Alexandre Gallo's national side in recent months.
Where do you think Gerson will end up this summer? Is £22m too much to play for the Fluminense midfielder? Have your say below…
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