Manchester United are hopeful of beating Real Madrid to the signature of Rennes teenage sensation Eduardo Camavinga.
The 17-year-old Frenchman rose to prominence this season with a mature campaign in Ligue 1 which saw him rack up 25 appearances - predominantly in a defensive midfield role - as his side finished third in the table.
Despite earlier reports suggesting Real Madrid would've already had a deal wrapped up for the Frenchman if it wasn't for COVID-19, the Metro report that United have snuck ahead in the race for the sought-after Camavinga. They appear willing to return the player on loan to Rennes for another season.
The report also notes that the Red Devils have been scouting the 17-year-old for the past 12 months, with United's head of global scouting, Marcel Bout, also making a personal check on the player.
The club could potentially view Camavinga as the long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic, who, despite impressing in the weeks leading up to the break, is 31 and in the final years of his time at the top.
Camavinga's capacity to retain possession amid pressure and dictate the tempo of proceedings has seen him stand out in France this term, while his astuteness off the ball is also very impressive. And despite his primary position being at the base of midfield, many believe he'll mature into an effective box-to-box midfielder as he develops.
It was understood Europe's elite would have to pay upwards of €50m to secure his services before a global pandemic hit, with that asking price now likely to have been toned down.
And despite United announcing the club’s increased net debt from £127.4m to £429.1m in the last 12 months, it's understood any deal for Camavinga wouldn't rule out moves for primary targets Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham.
Like Bellingham, United are willing to allow the Frenchman to return to his current club for further campaign to aid development. The club are keen to get deals over the line for these two teens as their sell-on value is only likely to increase.