Manchester United are planning a "triple-raid" on Barcelona this summer following reports the Red Devils will launch bids to sign Blaugrana trio Ivan Rakitic, Arda Turan and Marc Bartra if Jose Mourinho is appointed manager.
That's according to Spanish website Don Balon, which claimed the former Real Madrid chief will look to strengthen the Premier League giants by recruiting from the top outfit in Europe (h/t Daily Star's Alex Harris).
Mourinho has been widely speculated as the leading candidate to replace incumbent United boss Louis van Gaal if the Dutchman is shown the Old Trafford exit at the end of this season.
A move for Turan may be particularly difficult given he only moved to the Camp Nou last summer and was only registered as a Barca player on January 1. He also recently told Turkish newspaper Hurriyet he rejected a move to England in favour of joining the Blaugrana (h/t Goal's Alec Fenn):
I always dreamt of playing for Barcelona. Not Chelsea, not Manchester... but Barcelona. 'I wish I can play for Barca one day, be a part of that team' - I had said to myself many times. Thank God it became true. And now I enjoy playing for one of the best teams in the world.
I'm used to paparazzi in Turkey but in Spain, they don't act that way. They don't chase and shoot Messi. Even Ronaldo was free of paparazzis when he was with (former girlfriend) Irina (Shayk). I feel less pressure now at Barcelona. It was different at Atletico. If someday I will leave Barca, I'll know that I'll be leaving on top. I'll know that I succeeded. I don't have to prove anything to anyone.
Those comments suggest the winger believes anything after Barcelona would represent a step down in his career, but United's search for speed out wide could mean they revive their interest in the 29-year-old.
Considering Turan's contract runs until 2020, and the player is comfortable at the club, it's safe to suggest Barca will have the final say in whether he leaves, regardless of how fond Mourinho might be of the player.
Rakitic also has a long-term commitment at the Camp Nou, and although his contract doesn't expire for another three-and-a-half years, the Croatian may be considered more expendable to manager Luis Enrique.
The midfielder has started in 34 of his 41 appearances so far this season and is perhaps the most natural successor to ageing Andres Iniesta, and he too is enjoying his time with the European champions:
FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona
[VIDEO] @IvanRakitic: “We are enjoying a sweet moment” #AFCvFCB #ArsenalFCB https://t.co/JuBKqJZy1j2/23/2016, 7:15:04 AM
Of the three rumoured United targets, centre-back Bartra would undoubtedly be the easiest to prise away from the Spanish titans after making just nine starts under Enrique this term.
Bleacher Report's Rik Sharma recently stated the defender needs to consider a move away from Old Trafford for the sake of his career, considering he's now 25 years of age and way down Barca's pecking order:
Rik Sharma @riksharma_
Marc Bartra left out of Barcelona squad vs. Atletico. He is 5th choice. At 25 should be fighting to get out, at least on loan.1/30/2016, 9:37:16 AM
Van Gaal has utilised Chris Smalling and Daley Blind as his first-choice partnership in central defence this season, but Bartra—confirmed to Radio Marca (h/t ESPN FC) last year he has a €12 million (£9.5 million) release clause—could be a valuable addition.
United may not have high hopes of convincing Barca's greatest assets to leave last season's treble winners, but Mourinho is already looking to lure some of the Blaugrana's lesser-valued talents to his next possible club.