Manchester United have reportedly opened talks with Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte about a summer transfer move.
The highly-rated Frenchman has been linked with a move to Old Trafford as well as Barcelona in recent weeks, and it had been thought that the Catalan giants had emerged as favourites to land his signature.
However, according to Sport, United have now moved into pole position and are confident that they will be able to complete a deal at the end of the season.
The Red Devils are understood to be willing to pay his £32m release clause, although the Spanish outfit are hopeful that they will be able to retain the defender and will offer him a new deal in a bid to convince him to stay at the club.
Whether or not he accepts that offer remains to be seen, but there is a danger that he could be persuaded to move on to bigger and better things with Barcelona seemingly keen on snapping up the 21-year-old as they continue to dominate both at home and abroad.
With regards to United’s interest, it is reported that Jose Mourinho is involved in the planning, as the Portuguese tactician has been tipped to take over at Old Trafford at some point in the near future.
Louis van Gaal still has another year after this season remaining on his contract with the club, but Laporte isn’t the first player linked with a move to the English giants with a view of Mourinho overseeing their squad overhaul and laying the foundations for future plans.