Manchester United have opened talks with Sevilla over the transfer of France U20 international Geoffrey Kondogbia, according to the Metro. The 20-year-old is valued by his club at £15m but the Premier League champions believe they can land their target for £8m, given the Andalusian club's financial woes.
David Moyes will have to move fast though, with domestic rivals Chelsea and Spanish giants Real Madrid also interested in the player. Manchester City were also linked to the midfielder.
Madrid are believed to want Kondogbia as a long-term replacement for Spain international Xabi Alonso. The former Liverpool midfielder is in the final season of his contract and has yet to sign an extension, leading to speculation the 31-year-old could leave the Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer in 2014.
However, given the Spanish capital club have also been linked to Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundgoan and have confirmed the £23m signing of Malaga's Isco, it remains to be seen if Carlo Ancelotti returns for the Sevilla youngster.
As far as Chelsea are concerned, Kondogbia has admitted he is flattered to be linked to the west London club but he wants to wait until after the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup, where he is playing for France.
United are short of options in the centre of the park and have been left particularly exposed by Paul Scholes' second retirement. The 38-year-old leaves only compatriots Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley, with Brazilian Anderson, youngster Nick Powell and fellow veteran Ryan Giggs, as central midfield options.
The English champions have been linked to a number of other midfielders, most notably 23-year-old Dutch international Kevin Strootman. Barcelona's 22-year-old Spaniard Thiago Alcantara is also expected to sign.
Ryan Giggs on Retirement
Meanwhile, Giggs, who turns 40 in November, believes it is time for him to start considering life after football. The ex-Wales international has a contract till 2014 and is likely to retire next summer. Giggs is presently in Turkey, for the U20 World Cup, where he is working to earn a UEFA Pro License.
It'll be like starting all over again, it will be like being an apprentice again, learning things and making mistakes as you go along and just trying to better yourself as much as you can," he explained, adding, "It's exciting for me. I've been playing for 20-odd years and it's a new chapter in my life. I want to do well and I want to make a success of it as I did as a player."