Manchester United may not be in Champions League action this season, but that doesn't mean the Old Trafford club aren't keeping an eye on European football's biggest competition.
Indeed, whilst Jose Mourinho was preparing his players for Thursday's Europa League tie against Zorya, at least one member of his staff was over in Portugal on Tuesday evening to cast their eye over one of the continent's most exciting young talents.
As reported by Portuguese publication Record, United scouts were in attendance for Sporting Lisbon's 2-0 Champions League win over Legia Warsaw in order to get assess the Primeira Liga side's 21-year-old winger Gelson Martins. They weren't the only big name team watching on from the stands either.
Per the same report, Real Madrid - a familiar foe for United when it comes to the transfer market - also had a scout at Sporting's Tuesday fixture.
Having outmanoeuvred the La Liga giants to secure the world record signing of Paul Pogba over the summer, it appears that United could now be set to go toe-to-toe with their fellow super club over the coming months.
And, considering the Premier League club's recent history when it comes to signing wingers from Sporting - both Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani joined from the club - United fans will be hoping their scout came back from Portugal with a glowing report.
So, is Martins really deserving of such attention from arguably the two biggest clubs in world football?
Well, he certainly got himself noticed by Madrid a few weeks back with an impressive display against Los Blancos in a 2-1 defeat to open both team's Champions League campaigns.
And, with two goals and five assists to his name already for Jorge Jesus' side, he has shown himself to be a big threat in the attacking third. Indeed, his club manager recently claimed that there is "no one like him" currently playing in Portugal.
However, there is a fairly significant hurdle that both United and Madrid would have to overcome if they were to win Martins' signature come the January transfer window.
The young winger's buy out clause in his current Sporting contract stands at an eye-watering £52 million. This despite him only earning a reported £2,000-per-week.
Of course, with the Portuguese side having become adept at selling on their most talented players in recent seasons, they would surely be open to negotiations on the talented star's price.
Only time will tell if either club is willing to step up their interest in Martins and, indeed, which club the winger is most interested in joining.
The lure of playing alongside fellow countrymen Ronaldo at the Bernabeu would be appealing.
However, with Madrid having failed to bring him into their academy setup two years ago, Mourinho and co. will hold out hope that they can sign yet another talented Sporting winger in the not too distant future.
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