Manchester United Transfer News: Top Targets, Fresh Rumours Linked to Red Devils

Stuart Newman@@StuNewmanSportFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2016

FC Barcelona's Marc Bartra pauses,  during a training session,  in San Joan Despi, Spain, Friday, May 16, 2014. Barcelona faces Spanish leader Atletico Madrid in a winner-takes-all league finale on Saturday, when the defending champion could yet lift its fifth title in six seasons. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Manchester United have been handed a boost in their bid to land Barcelona defender Marc Bartra, after the player’s former agent Javier Diaz told Spanish outlet COPE that he’d be willing to leave the Camp Nou—via James Gray of the Daily Express.

Bartra has found chances hard to come by in Luis Enrique’s star-studded outfit this term, and Diaz said that moving on could be the only way for the 25-year-old to rescue his career:

I do not know what happens with Bartra but I know Marc is a very ambitious person and in a situation you should not like. That is very clear. As a footballer, I think the best thing to do is try to turn the tables. If it continues, it is normal to leave. Marc is playing less than last year. When you're playing more and more, you can see the light. But if the first year you play 18 games, the second 25, third 28 and fourth 15 [it] is normal things happen to you in the head.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Bartra has made just nine La Liga appearances in 2015/16, with six of those coming from the substitutes’ bench, according to

And although he’s never really been a consistent starter for the Catalan giants, he’s demonstrated over the years that he has the ability to be an ever-present at the top of the European game. Here’s a reminder of what Bartra brings to the table:

The Spaniard certainly has plenty to offer on the big stage, and Gray reported that Manchester United manager-elect Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of his.

Mourinho watched Bartra during his coming-of-age campaigns in La Liga while at the helm of Real Madrid.

Bartra is a ball-playing centre-back whose first thought is turning defence into attack. Manchester United have been lacking a defender capable of stepping into midfield, and the Spaniard could fill the gap perfectly.

Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

He’d be the first of three key signings that Mourinho would bring to Old Trafford if he was given the managerial role, as Italian outlet Di Marzio report that the former Chelsea boss wants to reshape the spine of Louis van Gaal’s team with a new centre-back, midfielder and striker—via Will Giles of Metro.

The midfielder of that trio could be German World Cup winner Toni Kroos, who is reportedly unsettled at Real Madrid, per Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Mirror.

Former United boss David Moyes targeted Kroos back in 2014, but when Van Gaal took over, the then-Bayern Munich star was suddenly off the club’s radar.

Lalo R. Villar/Associated Press

Now, though, with the Dutchman seemingly on his way out of the Old Trafford door, interest in Kroos has been reignited.

Just how much pulling power Mourinho and United have this summer could depend on whether or not they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The Red Devils are level on points with bitter rivals Manchester City in fourth place, and they clash with West Brom on Sunday.