Numerous players emerged from Athletic Bilbao’s Europa League success over Manchester United looking like glittering prospects, none more so than Oscar de Marcos, who is now believed to be a summer transfer target for the Old Trafford club.
De Marcos found the net in either leg of the round of 16 clash, and his energetic midfield displays across the two matches have convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to take an interest in securing his services.
The 22-year-old is a playmaker in a similar mould to Paul Scholes, and could be seen as the long-term successor to the 37-year-old, who is expected to play for one more season at the very most.
In light of this, United’s chief scout Jim Lawlor is set to make a trip to Spain to watch De Marcos in league action, after he received further endorsement from Ferguson’s brother Martin last week.
A stumbling block to the move could come in the form of the transfer fee however, with Bilbao having their hands tied somewhat as they are only allowed to recruit players from their own region.
The Spanish outfit would therefore require a substantial transfer fee to do business, and Ferguson would likely be unwilling to meet De Marcos’ £26million release clause, bearing in mind the player’s relative inexperience.
Although Ferguson was impressed by a number of Bilbao players during their shock double victory over his side, though De Marcos is the one he is most keen to add to his squad, with his age and playing position absolutely ideal.
Should the midfielder manage to force his way into the Spanish national squad in the near future, it could persuade the Manchester United boss to stump up that £26million to ensure he wins the race for his signature.