Manchester United After Athletic Bilbao's Iker Muniain Valencia's Jordi Alba
Manchester United After Athletic Bilbao's Iker Muniain Valencia's Jordi Alba Reuters

Manchester United are reportedly ready with a £15 million bid for Valencia defender Jordi Alba, according to a report. The Spanish club sees Alba as one of their most valuable players but given the financial crisis at the Mestalla, may be forced to part with, according to club sources.

The Premier League title holders are looking for a long-term replacement for ageing French left-back Patrice Evra, who is also the captain of the club. However, there is no news, as yet, about Evra either leaving the club or being sought by others.

Alba started his career in Barcelona but it has only been recently, after he established himself in Valencia and with the Spanish national team that the big clubs have come calling. Apparently United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has asked his scouts to keep a close eye on the Spaniard. He may, however, have to fight off interest from cross-town rivals Manchester City, who had scouts out in January. City boss Roberto Mancini may be willing to let Ferguson have Alba though, if his bid for Lille's 18 year old Lucas Digne comes off; the club will be looking to replace Serbian left-back Aleksandar Kolarov in the summer.

Meanwhile, a report in the Metro suggests the Red Devils could also be in the hunt for Iker Muniain, Athletic Bilbao's teenage striker. However, Jesus Medina (the player's agent) has confirmed the English club would have to ante up £30 million to sign the 19 year old. Ferguson was apparently impressed by the Basque youngster after scored twice against his side during Bilbao's victory over Manchester United in the Round of 16 of the Europa League.

Apart from the Red Devils, Italian giants Juventus, who will most probably be losing ageing forward Alessandro Del Piero this summer, are also reportedly interested in signing the Spaniard. However, Medina thinks Juventus will not be able to afford Muniain.

"Athletic do not want to sell. Whoever wants him must pay his buyout clause at £29.5million (€36 million)," Medina was quoted by the Metro as saying.

Although United do have the money, Ferguson will certainly not spend so much for the Spanish striker, who has very little experience.

Apart from Muniain, Ferguson has also stated his interest in other Athletic Bilbao players including midfielders Oscar de Marcos, Ander Herrera and defender/midfielder Javi Martinez.