Manchester United are reportedly preparing an offer for Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos, but will face competition from Barcelona.
With Louis van Gaal suffering from an injury crisis in defence, the Reds are understood to be considering a last-ditch bid to sign the Brazilian before the January transfer window deadline.
According to The Manchester Evening News, the talented defender wants to leave the French capital due to a lack of first-team opportunities, but that has also alerted Barcelona who have been long-time admirers.
Whether or not the report leads to a genuine offer from United remains to be seen, as with the likes of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian currently sidelined, Van Gaal is severely lacking in experienced options at the back.
In turn, the likes of Paddy McNair are expected to play a bigger role in the coming weeks, and with the Dutch tactician under serious pressure to turn things around after their loss to Southampton at Old Trafford last weekend, he can ill afford any more setbacks.
United face Derby County in the FA Cup on Friday night hoping to bounce back, but looking at the long-term solutions, Marquinhos would undoubtedly be a smart move.
The 21-year-old initially impressed on the European stage with Roma, as he played a pivotal role at the heart of the Giallorossi defence which led to interest from PSG.
While a move to the ambitious French outfit produced trophies and success, he has struggled for playing time throughout his time there. Marquinhos has made just 20 appearances in all competitions so far this season with the likes of compatriots Thiago Silva and David Luiz starting for coach Laurent Blanc.
As a result a move elsewhere could be tempting for the youngster, but United are certainly running out of time to get a deal done before the deadline if they are serious about bolstering their squad.