Samir Nasri and Wesley Sneijder are not the only midfielders in world football causing a fight between Manchester United and Manchester City, with the Premier League title rivals also set to tussle for Douglas Costa.
Premier League interest for the 20-year-old Brazilian is nothing unusual, as a move to Manchester United was touted earlier in the season, while Arsenal were also recently linked as they were interested in sealing a swap with Shakhtar Donetsk for Denilson.
This deal is no longer on the cards after Arsenal accepted a loan offer for Denilson from Sao Paolo, but the interest from Manchester United remains ongoing as they look for added creativity in central midfield.
Nasri and Sneijder remain alternatives to fill this void, but it now seems that Manchester United face competition from their local rivals for all three of their transfer targets.
Costa’s agent Cesar Bottega has spoken of the interest, alongside that of Serie A club Napoli, who want to improve their own squad ahead of an assault on the Champions League this season.
Bottega told Goal.com: “I have had some contacts with important teams in Italy, Spain and England. Manchester City and Manchester United have informed themselves [about the player].
“The player is happy in the Ukraine and he gets to play Champions League football with one of the most important teams in Europe. But if an opportunity from an important league arrives then we will consider it.”
One potential sticking point over any such deal is that Shakhtar will demand a straight cash offer for the playmaker, who may cost around £15m bearing in mind he still has three years remaining on his current contract in the Ukraine.
Costa’s pace, directness and eye for goal are likely to be beneficial for both Manchester United and Manchester City as they look to mount a strong Premier League title challenge this season.
It is 13/8 in the Premier League odds that Manchester United successfully defend their title, with Manchester City 7/2 to be crowned champions for the first time in the Premier League era.