Manchester clubs dealt blow as Barcelona prepare £21m bid for Serie 'A' starlet

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Barcelona are set to launch a staggering £21million bid for Manchester United and Manchester City target Marquinhos, reports talkSPORT.

The 18-year-old defender is regarded as one of the hottest properties in Italian football at the moment, prompting interest from a host of top European clubs.

Roma paid just £2.6million to sign the South American from Brazilian side Corinthians last summer, and despite his tender years, threw the youngster straight into the Giallorossi first-team.

Marquinhos has managed 20 Serie 'A' appearances in his debut season at the Stadio Olimpico, with his impressive displays already catching the eye of Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who has bee linked with a bid to bring him to Old Trafford.

Manchester United will face competition for his signature from local rivals Manchester City, as Roberto Mancini also sets sights on adding Marquinhos to his Etihad Stadium squad.

According to reports, neither of the Premier League's top two were planning to move for Marquinhos this summer, but now might be forced into action after Barcelona's intentions to make an offer for the Brazilian's services emerged.

With club legend Carles Puyol approaching the end of his career, Barca chiefs are already on the lookout for a long-term replacement for the Spanish stopper, and have identified Marquinhos as the young pretender to succeed Puyol at Camp Nou for many years to come.

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