Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly set to clash against each other in the pursuit of Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford.

As per an exclusive report from the Daily Express, Barcelona are set to enter the race for the signing of Manchester United starlet Marcus Rashford. The 21-year-old striker is also a prime transfer target for the Catalans’ arch-rivals Real Madrid.

Since bursting on to the scenes under Louis van Gaal about three years ago, Rashford has been heralded as one of the brightest young talents to have come through in England. However, the Englishman’s progress seemed to have stalled somewhat under the reign of former manager Jose Mourinho over the past year or so.

Rashford made a rather slow start to the 2018-19 campaign either, but the England international has picked up pace in recent weeks and has been one of Manchester United’s better performers even as Mourinho ended up getting the sack last week.

So far this term, Rashford has netted five goals and set up five more in 21 appearances across all competitions. The Manchester United academy graduate was on the scoresheet at the weekend, as they beat Cardiff City 5-1 in caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in-charge.

Barcelona, Real Madrid are trying to net a deal for Rashford. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona, Real Madrid are trying to net a deal for Rashford. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Rashford is held in very high regard in and around Old Trafford. But, amid rumours that the Red Devils are pursuing the signing of Juventus attacker Douglas Costa in January as well as former academy product Joshua King, the competition for places in the starting XI could further intensify, which could lead to Rashford considering his future at the club.

Real Madrid are hoping to capitalize on the situation by launching an attempt to land the 21-year-old next summer. The reigning European champions have found it tough going in the attacking third following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and with Karim Benzema not getting any younger, they have set their sights on Rashford as the future of the club.

However, they will have to face stiff competition from bitter rivals Barcelona. The reigning Spanish champions are lining up a long-term replacement for star striker Luis Suarez, who is well into his thirties and has been struggling with injury problems this season.

Rashford's contract expires in 2020 (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Rashford’s contract expires in 2020 (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Having sold Paco Alcacer off to Borussia Dortmund and with academy graduate Munir El Haddadi not living up to the expectations, Ernesto Valverde’s men have been forced to look elsewhere for a new centre-forward. And Rashford is believed to be one of their chief targets, along with his England teammate Harry Kane.

Along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, Serie A champions Juventus too have taken an interest in the 21-year-old attacker, while fellow Italian heavyweights AC Milan are also believed to be keeping tabs.

Rashford’s contract with Manchester United runs till the summer of 2020, although the club have the option of extending it by a further year. However, with interest mounting, the 20-time English champions are ready to offer him a new deal worth £150,000-a-week.

It is not a huge surprise to see big clubs across Europe sniffing around the possibility of signing Rashford, given how rapidly he has grown in a short time at Manchester United. But, it is highly unlikely that the Premier League giants would be willing to part with their prized asset anytime soon.

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