Bitter rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly set to go head to head in the pursuit of Manchester United superstar Marcus Rashford in the summer.
According to a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford is a man in high demand as La Liga champions Barcelona have joined arch-rivals Real Madrid in the race to sign the 21-year-old in the summer transfer window.
The Manchester United academy graduate has been in red-hot form of late, after a rather tepid start to the season. So far in the 2018-19 campaign, Rashford has netted 10 goals and set up 9 more in 32 matches across all competitions, and has been one of the chief driving forces behind the Red Devils’ resurgence under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rashford’s upturn in form has resulted in speculations of his departure from Old Trafford in the summer, with Real Madrid reportedly heavily interested in the England international ahead of next season.
The Merengues have found it hard to replace the prolific Cristiano Ronaldo since his departure last summer. While Karim Benzema has had a solid season, the rest of Real Madrid’s attacking contigent has failed to deliver, leading to the club seeking attacking reinforcements in the summer transfer window.
However, as per the report from Mundo Deportivo, Real Madrid will now have to battle arch enemies Barcelona if they want to sign the 21-year-old.
Barcelona’s No.9 woes have been laid bare this season, with the Catalans’ first-choice striker Luis Suarez struggling for form and fitness over the course of the campaign. The lack of a proper backup for the Uruguayan led to them signing Kevin-Prince Boateng in January, but the former AC Milan man is nothing more than a stop-gap option.
Barcelona are keen on addressing that issue ahead of the next season and had recently been linked with a move for Eintracht Frankfurt starlet Luka Jovic. However, the report from Mundo Deportivo claims that the La Liga champions are also monitoring Rashford and would be keen on making a move on the Englishman should an opportunity open up.
Rashford’s contract with Manchester United runs out in the summer of 2020, although the club have the option of extending it by a further year. Reports recently have claimed that the 21-year-old is locked in negotiations over a new six-year deal.
The report from Mundo Deportivo adds that Barcelona are not confident of signing the Manchester United academy graduate as they fear that he would easily cost them in the upwards of the €100 million mark, as he has no release clause in his contract. Their only hope of landing him would be if the ongoing contract negotiations between the player and the club break down.
Rashford is viewed as an integral part of the Manchester United setup at present and for the future. And it is extremely unlikely that they would be willing to part with their academy product, especially with contract negotiations underway. It would seem that Barcelona and Real Madrid will have to look elsewhere to strengthen their forward line next summer.