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Exclusive: Manchester United Line Up Audacious Swap Deal In Bid To Sign Everton Midfielder

United to offload striker in attempt to sign England youngster.

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal could be ready to go head to head with rivals Manchester City for the signing of Everton and England youngster Ross Barkley, CaughtOffside understands.

The Red Devils boss, still in charge of the Netherlands national team as he aims to guide them to World Cup glory, is aware of City’s growing interest in the Toffees midfielder, who is widely regarded as one of the best young players in the Premier League at the moment.

The 20-year-old enjoyed a tremendous breakthrough season on Merseyside in 2013/14, scoring seven goals from midfield to earn himself a call-up to the England national team for this summer’s World Cup, as well as attracting interest from some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs.

Chelsea have also been linked with Barkley in the recent past, though it is currently believed that United and City will be the main contenders to sign him this summer, with van Gaal identifying him as a top target to improve his squad’s midfield options.

Big names such as Toni Kroos of Bayern Munich and Arturo Vidal of Juventus have been earmarked as top targets for the 2012/13 champions, who are desperate to rebuild after a disastrous season this year, when they finished seventh under van Gaal’s predecessor David Moyes.

The Red Devils have already moved to sign another of the country’s most exciting prospects with a £33m deal for teenage left-back Luke Shaw, who also caught the eye of England manager Roy Hodgson with his performances for Southampton this season.

Barkley could be the next England prospect to make the move to Old Trafford, and United will hope to tempt Everton into selling their prized asset by offering either Javier Hernandez or Danny Welbeck as an option to move to Goodison Park in return.

Roberto Martinez is keen to bring in a new striker this summer after failing to keep loan signing Romelu Lukaku, who had a tremendous impact in his season-long stay with the club, and the chance to bring in one of two recognised forwards from United may be one worth considering for the Spanish tactician.

Although neither Welbeck or Hernandez have been in great form of late, the two are capable of being top quality Premier League players if given the chance, and would likely fit in well at Everton, particularly under the smart and adventurous management of Martinez.

Still, it remains to be seen if the club would currently entertain the possibility of losing such a top prospect like Barkley.

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