Koke
Koke.Reuters

Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has suggested that they are set to fight with Manchester United for '"spectacular" Atletico Madrid star Koke – with reports in Spain claiming the Catalan giants are likely to meet his £48m release clause.

The 22-year-old midfielder established himself in the Vicente Calderon first-team in the 2012-2013 season and this year has been crucial in their march to the La Liga title and the Champions League final.

Recently Metro reported that Louis van Gaal is ready to break the bank for his signature by meeting his £48 buy-out clause, but the Barcelona president has suggested his club are also keen.

Asked in an interview with Radio Station Onda Cero whether the Catalans are interested in Koke, Bartomeu revealed: "He is a spectacular player, who every club would want to have in their squad.

"But I'm positive that Atletico will not want to sell him. We can not reveal names of transfer targets, we'd like to, but we can't."

Marca, Mundo Deportivo and Sport all report today [Friday] that new Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has earmarked Koke as his main summer target – as he is desperately looking for Xavi's long-term replacement.

Marca even claims Barca have already opened negotiations with Atletico Madrid and the Catalan club are considering meeting his £48m release clause.

Meanwhile, the Spanish international midifielder recently claimed that he is likely to stay at the Vicente Calderon for many years.

"The squad has had a spectacular year and this [receipt of offers] is normal. But I'm happy, this is my home and I will continue here for quite some time" Koke said.

"This morning many friends have called me asking about Barcelona's interest but all I have to do is be quiet and focus in the World Cup. It is the only thing I have to think about now. I feel very happy. Atletico is my home, I grew up as a child in this club and I'm comfortable. I have a long-term contract, it is an honor that big clubs come for me but I am happy at Atletico. "

Koke has scored six domestic league goals this season having also grabbed 13 assists, making him La Liga's second-highest contributor just behind Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria.