Manchester United are ready to challenge Real Madrid for the signature of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, as they target a marquee signing in the summer 2022 transfer window.
The Red Devils have already made some smart moves in the current market, re-signing Edinson Cavani to a one-year deal, landing long-term target Jadon Sancho and securing the services of Real defender Raphael Varane.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is already planning for the future, and he and the club have shortlisted PSG forward Mbappe as a target for next summer, according to ESPN.
Man Utd are aware that their chances of pulling off this massive coup are slim, considering the very public links between the Frenchman and Spanish giants Madrid. Mbappe has never ruled out a move to Los Blancos, who are even prepared to open talks with PSG this summer, as recently revealed by 90min.
However, PSG have made it clear that they have no intention of selling Mbappe in the coming weeks, which plays into the Red Devils' hands. Man Utd would not be able to compete with Madrid if they were to offer a mega transfer fee for the World Cup winner, leaving the Spanish capital as his only destination.
PSG's refusal to negotiate this window means the Premier League giants can play the long game on this deal, and join the scramble for Mbappe when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. The 22-year-old's contract expires in July 2022, meaning he can walk away from Paris without earning them a fee.
Mauricio Pochettino has also stated that Mbappe will be staying at the club for the rest of the campaign, regardless of whether he decides to put pen to paper on a new contract.
The French giants are hoping to convince him to extend his stay at the club, and club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi believes Mbappe has 'no excuse' after they showed their ambition by signing Lionel Messi. Should he still decide to walk away next year, Man Utd would be waiting.
The Red Devils opted not to spend big money on a centre-forward this summer, instead offering Cavani a new deal with the club. That move gives them time to build towards a superstar signing next summer, and there are a number of big names available.
Erling Haaland's release clause will become active, allowing them to negotiate directly with the player and cut Borussia Dortmund out of the talks. Harry Kane and Lautaro Martinez are also targets if they remain with Spurs and Inter respectively this season.
Man Utd are curious over the prospect of luring Mbappe to the Premier League, though 90min understands he has never shown any desire to join them. Even if they know Madrid is his preferred destination at the moment, time is on United's side to convince him to come Old Trafford.
Man Utd's participation in the Champions League also allows them to prove their strength in Europe, and a title challenge could be enough to demonstrate the club is on an upward curve - compared to Madrid, who are in financial crisis under Florentino Perez's reign.
The allure of working with France legend Zinedine Zidane in Madrid has also been taken off the table, after he left the club in the summer and was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.