Ernesto Valverde.

Barcelona prepared to make surprise move for Manchester United frontman

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Football News

Jose Mourinho is by no means short of attacking talent at Manchester United and is set to become even stronger in the new year when Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns from injury.

Only their cross-city rivals, Manchester City, have found the net on more occasions in the Premier League this campaign - thanks to their attacking prowess.

Romelu Lukaku's arrival is certainly looking like replacing the goals that will be missed following Wayne Rooney's summer return to Everton.

But cast our minds back two years ago and Anthony Martial was the huge deadline day signing who appeared be United's answer for a long-term successor to United's all-time top goalscorer.

The Frenchman became the most expensive teenager in world football after arriving for an initial £36 million.

But just two seasons on, the France forward's opportunities appear to be weakening as time passes.

If it wasn't already a daunting task at hand upon his arrival at Old Trafford, it certainly hasn't got any easier since.

Marcus Rashford's presence, along with the arrivals of Ibrahimovic and Lukaku, have not aided matters.

The young United academy graduate and his Belgian teammate have established themselves ahead of Martial in Mourinho's plans. But not necessarily based on contribution.

Martial has netted in three of his six appearances for United in the league this campaign, compared to Rashford's two goals in six - despite having started five games more than the Frenchman.

Barcelona monitoring Martial's situation

However, that hasn't led to improved opportunities for the France forward, who has also created one more assist than Rashford in all competitions this campaign.

And Mourinho's preference for Rashford, along with Ibrahimovic's return from injury in the new year, has caused Barcelona to monitor Martial's situation at Old Trafford, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Swansea City v Manchester United - Premier League

The Spanish outlet claims that the Frenchman is 'on the agenda' of the Catalan giants, who are attracted by his youthfulness and proven quality.

Martial not receiving game time he deserves

Although Martial has not featured regularly under Mourinho, his stats prove he is a threat in front of goal and Barcelona are well aware Ibrahimovic will make his life even tougher at United.

The Catalonian outfit are not set to make an official approach for Martial anytime soon, but it is understood that, if Martial does signal his intent to leave, an approach could be made.

CSKA Moskva v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League

It appears to be a win-win situation for Martial, who could swap one European giant for another - especially as both Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi enter the latter stages of their careers.

But Mourinho and United have made it clear their only interest is to strengthen the squad that is looking to be dominant, both domestically and in Europe.

It remains to be seen whether Martial could force a move. And, if so, when?

Romelu Lukaku
Marcus Rashford
Paul Pogba

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