Manchester United have reportedly made a "breakthrough" in contract negotiations with Marcus Rashford.
According to the Mirror's David Maddock, discussions have taken place between Rashford and the Red Devils, and the 21-year-old has told the club he's willing to commit his future to United now that it's clear he's central to the plans of interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rashford has been a regular starter since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho, and his output has dramatically increased under the new boss.
A new deal could help ward off the interest of Barcelona. Catalan outlet Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football365) reported Rashford is one of several attacking targets for the Blaugrana, but the club are aware it will be difficult to land the youngster.
Sport Witness' Naveen Ullal took a closer look at the report from Spain, which referred to the forward as an "impossible dream" for the La Liga giants:
Rashford is a United academy product who made his debut during the 2015-16 campaign and has steadily worked his way up the ranks at Old Trafford. He routinely flashed his talent under Mourinho and on the international stage, but he has truly come alive under Solskjaer.
He has bagged eight goals in his last 15 matches and started 11 of the last 13 fixtures for the club. His mobility and quickness in limited space make him a great fit for the system the new tactician runs, and he has passed Romelu Lukaku in the pecking order.
While Rashford's excellent scoring output of late has caught the eye, his success in front of goal has been evident for years:
According to Maddock, the new contract could keep him at the club until 2025 and would put him among the Red Devils' better-paid players.
Such a deal will likely be needed should Barcelona's interest become concrete. The Catalan giants have incredible pulling power, and they could be in the market for a big-name attacking reinforcement in the near future.
Luis Suarez has led the line at striker for years for the Blaugrana, but the former Liverpool man is now 32 years old and seemingly slowing down. He has yet to score in the UEFA Champions League this season, and while he does have 15 goals in La Liga, his form there has dropped since the turn of the year.
Barcelona fans have soured on the Uruguayan:
Even if his form picks up, Barcelona will have to find a replacement at some point. Rashford would be a strong candidate, but convincing United to sell would be a tall task. Premier League clubs don't have to add a buyout clause to contracts―unlike their La Liga counterparts―and United's finances are strong enough to turn down even massive bids.
Mundo suggested Rashford would cost the Blaugrana more than €100 million―roughly £87 million―and even that might not be enough if he's signed to a new, long-term deal.