Reports from Spain suggest that Barcelona are ready to test the water with a €20million offer for highly rated Ajax defender Gregory Van der Wiel.
Manchester United have long admired the 22-year-old and had targeted a summer move for the youngster – who is a product of the world-renowned Ajax Amsterdam youth academy.
Sir Alex Ferguson has so far been happy to keep tabs from afar believing Van der Wiel is in the ideal place to mature and develop as a footballer, but the Red Devils may pay for their delay in closing a deal.
Van der Wiel has established himself as a first team regular at the Amsterdam arena, and finished 2010 by picking up the Johan Cruyff Award – a yearly accolade handed out to the best young player in Dutch football.
Barcelona and Pep Guardiola are currently trying to thrash out a new deal with their Brazilian full-back Dani Alves, but already look to be considering other options should the deal break down.
Alves has been heavily linked with a big money move to Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City, and may well have had his head turned by the Eastlands club.
Manchester United fans will be hoping that their fiercest rivals do not ultimately impact on the proposed transfer of Van der Wiel to Old Trafford.
But if The Citizens convince Alves to join the Manchester City regime as they continue to build a squad worthy of challenging for the Barclays Premier League title, it could inadvertently force a summer battle between United and the Catalan giants for the Dutchman's signature.
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