Transfer Rumour: Manchester United to rival Barcelona for Valencia teenager Fran Villalba

Manchester United are reportedly keen on a deal to bring Valencia teenager Fran Villalba to Old Trafford but face competition from Barcelona.

Spanish local daily El Desmarque have claimed that Manchester United have entered the race to sign Valencia teenager Fran Villalba. The Valencia based local media outlet have also added that the Red Devils see the player as a ‘safe bet for the future’ and are keen on a deal to bring him to Old Trafford.

Villalba is a Valencia academy product and has seen himself promoted to the first-team setup at the La Liga side during the managerial reign of Manchester United legend Gary Neville. The player has earned the title ‘The Wizard of Cabanyal’, as the talented youngster hails from the Valenciana region of Cabanyal.

The 18-year-old has seen himself being pushed down from being a part of the first-team setup under Gary Neville last season back to the Valencia B. As per the report, Villalba still harbours hopes of making it at Valencia but is fully aware that, in the wake of lack of first-team opportunities, the player would be better off with a move elsewhere.

Manchester United are eyeing the player with the aim of slotting the midfielder into their reserve team, which is currently playing in the U-23 Premier League, and Villalba would be given the chance to get promoted to the first-team in due course.

Manchester United, though, are likely to face stiff competition from Barcelona, with club technical director Robert Fernandez keeping a close eye on the player’s developments. It is also rumoured that Robert feels the player’s technique and footballing style will fit perfectly within the Blaugranes’ setup.

Villalba’s current contract runs till 2021 but the deal includes a minimum release clause of €4m, a figure either of the interested clubs would be more than happy to splurge, in order to get a hold of the player. The interest from Manchester United and Barcelona also puts Valencia in a precarious position.

The club has already seen their local academy graduate Paco Alcacer make the move to Barcelona, much to the agony of the supporters and losing another local boy could result in the club facing further wrath from the faithful.

Villalba, who can play as a defensive midfielder, central midfielder and as an attacking midfielder could just be the type of dynamic addition needed in Mourinho’s side to take their playing style to the next level and given the current financial strength of the Red Devils, they are likely to give Barcelona more than a run for their money in the battle to secure the signature of one of Valencia’s prized possessions.

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