Barcelona are looking at making a January raid on Manchester United to sign Spanish midfielder Arnau Puigmal, claims a report.
The LaLiga giants have been attracted by his versatility after they tried to lure him from their neighbours when the player was 16.
The central midfielder can play anywhere on the right and has played in a defensive midfield role. He has starred for United’s U23 side this season.
In fact Sport claim “he is the most outstanding player” in United’s U23 side. He has scored three goals and grabbed two assists from just two Premier League 2 matches this season.
He signed for Espanyol at the age of 10 in 2010 and progressed through their youth system to become one of the brightest Spanish midfield prospects by the age of 16.
Puigmal, 19, signed for United from Espanyol’s youth team in 2017, but has yet to make a senior appearance.
He did travel with the squad last season for the Europa League game with Astana. He was an unused sub that night as they lost 2-1.
Barca B boss Garcia Pimienta is looking for cover for right-back Andres Solano, who is injured. And Puigmal is one of the names on his list.
Puigmal signed his first professional contract at Old Trafford in January 2018 and the club website described him as “a hot prospect”.
Puigmal is out of contract next summer but Barca want to negotiate a deal with with United so that he can arrive in January.
Berbatov warning for United boss
Meanwhile, Dimitar Berbatov insists that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot use his side’s busy fixture schedule as a reason for their poor form.
Solskjaer launched a lengthy rant at footballing authorities for his side’s itinerary on Saturday. Indeed, the defeat of Everton came after United’s players arrived back from Turkey early last Thursday.
The Norwegian said that the authorities had set his team up “to fail” by making them play at Saturday lunchtime.
The demands on players appear tougher this season, with the English football season starting in September. Indeed, teams must play their regular number of matches after starting a month later than usual.
United‘s latest win eased the pressure on Solskjaer after doubts about his future. But Berbatov feels that, with every top team facing the same difficult demands, the manager cannot use the schedule as an excuse.
“This season is different, there are a lot of games in a short space of time,” the former forward told Betfair. “Matches in the Premier League, in Europe and then all of a sudden international breaks, but this cannot be used as an excuse.”