Barcelona legend Carles Puyol could help his "friend Louis van Gaal" to lure Spain international Marc Bartra from the Nou Camp to Manchester United, according to reports. Puyol, who retired from football in 2014, is starting a new career as a football agent and is about to get the services of Bartra as his first client.
The 24-year-old defender was heavily linked with a move away from the Champions League holders during the summer transfer window after it emerged he was available for €12m (£8.4m, $12.7m) due to a clause in his contract that stipulated his original €20m fee will drop to that cut-price figure unless he plays the agreed number of games in a season.
Reports in Spain claimed Tottenham Hotspur, Porto, Manchester City and Bayern Munich approached the player to determine his intentions. Bartra later confirmed offers from some clubs but decided to keep fighting to establish himself in his childhood side.
"The end of the season was hard, because at first I had more regular football and at the end I didn't play as much, but I was thinking calmly about leaving Barça who had always treated me so well," he said at the time to Sport.
"The offers that arrived make me doubt myself, but with a coach like Luis Enrique you know that everything can change in a year and I am going to give everything. Every player wants to play in the big games, I know that it isn't easy at Barça. If you work here, it is an endless race. I have enjoyed myself a lot with the team and there is still much to be won."
But the future of the Spanish centre-back is again under scrutiny after his situation having changed so far in the first part of the season. He has started just three La Liga games this term and looks to have Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu ahead of him in the manager's pecking order, being even left out of the squad during the 4-0 victory over Real Madrid on 21 November.
Mundo Deportivo claims Bartra has decided to part ways with agent Magico Diaz to work with Puyol and the main question now is whether that future will be at Barcelona or elsewhere. The Catalan publication says one of the clubs interested in Bartra "could be Manchester United, as the Premier League giants are looking to sign a centre-back and are managed by a good friend of Puyol in Louis van Gaal".