Manchester United are reportedly hoping to beat Premier League rivals Chelsea to the signing of Milan striker Carlos Bacca, but competition from Atletico Madrid could pose a major obstacle to both English outfits.
Spanish magazine Don Balon alleged the Blues have a £30 million bid in the pipeline for the Colombia international, but interest from the Red Devils could squash their pursuit (h/t Daily Star's Luke Gardener).
United manager Louis van Gaal is currently leaning on Anthony Martial and captain Wayne Rooney to provide firepower up front, while Marouane Fellaini has been utilised as an alternative centre-forward on occasion.
Bacca has 10 goals in 22 total appearances for the Rossoneri this season, but his record is all the more impressive when considering he's currently one of the most clinical assets in Italy's top flight, per WhoScored.com:
Carlos Bacca: Only Higuaín (9) and Kalinic (8) have scored more clear-cut chances in Serie A this season than @carlos7bacca (7)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 11, 2016
Attacking reinforcements are thought to be a major concern at Old Trafford, and Manchester United broke this season's mould during Tuesday's 3-3 draw at Newcastle United.
Van Gaal's men had failed to score in four of their 10 matches prior to that midweek clash, where Rooney managed a brace and brought his tally to three goals in his last two Premier League outings.
Should Manchester United launch a winter move for Bacca?
Bacca moved to the San Siro last summer after Milan activated the South American's €30 million (£22.7 million) buyout clause, bringing an end to his two-year stay with Sevilla.
Speaking to Italia outlet Mediaset, football agent Ernesto Bronzetti suggested Atletico Madrid could look to bring Bacca back to Spain after they were hit with a two-window transfer ban for signing underage players (h/t Italian website Calciomercato):
"I can tell you that they [Real Madrid] have not set sights on the likes of Miralem Pjanic, Mauro Icardi, Carlos Bacca and Jaison Murillo, but these kind of players be possible targets for Atletico Madrid."
The two-window embargo could force Atletico into conducting business.
Chelsea have experienced some substantial attacking woes of their own this season, but interim boss Guus Hiddink looks to be getting out-of-form Diego Costa back to his best. The Spain international has three goals in three Premier League games under the Dutchman.
Bacca is a man in form, too, and he strutted his confidence with a superb rabona finish in the Coppa Italia quarter-final clash with Carpi on Wednesday, as shown by Sky Sports:
WATCH: Carlos Bacca puts AC Milan 1-0 up in the Coppa Italia quarter-final LIVE on Sky Sports 1. https://t.co/eQXudfYabr— Sky Sports (@SkySports) January 13, 2016
According to Squawka, Bacca boasts one of the most accurate shooting records in Serie A this term, finding the target with an astonishing 67 percent of attempts, the highest of any players to have started at least 10 games.
Having lost Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Radamel Falcao last summer, United appear to be hunting the 29-year-old's experience this month as they seek a more polished finisher to lead their charge.