Manchester United chief scout Jim Lawlor has been sent on a mission to watch Oscar de Marcos show his skills for Athletic Bilbao, according to reports, with the youngster impressing for both club and country this season.

At just 22 years of age, de Marcos is particularly versatile, and his main position of midfielder would serve the Red Devils well as they look for support for Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

De Marcos signed a contract extension at the beginning of the year with Athletic, with claiming that a release clause worth €32 million was inserted into the new deal.

Oscar de Marcos
Oscar de Marcos is a target for Manchester United, according to reports.

With that in mind, United will have to cough up some big money if they hope to land the Spain Under 21 international, though the Daily Mirror reports that the club are still interested in seeing what he can do.

The star has already shown United some of what he's capable of, scoring against the English giants twice in their Europa League match-up with Athletic this year.

United may not be willing to take the player on just yet, particularly with his sky high release clause, but the club are at the very least going to keep a close eye on him as he continues to perform well for Athletic.

Over the past week midfielders have been strongly connected to United, with Shinji Kagawa and Lucas both having representatives claim that they would consider a move to England, and the latter to Old Trafford in particular.

While Paul Scholes came out of retirement for the club at the end of last year and has been a big part of their push for a 20th title, he is now 37 years old, and fellow one-club man Ryan Giggs is now 38.

Bringing a player into the fold who can learn from the pair, if Scholes does decide to stay on at United for another season, would appear to be the perfect transition into a new generation and one that Ferguson may have decided, after asking Scholes to play again, needs to be done.