The top two clubs in the Premier League - Manchester United and Manchester City - are ready to make their move for Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, in the summer, according to a report in The Sun.
It is believed City sent chief scout Rob Newman and football officer Brian Marwood to watch the player during Bilbao's Spanish league game against Granada on Wednesday. It appears Roberto Mancini's side has been tracking Herrera for months now.
Meanwhile, the 22 year old has also apparently caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson, when Bilbao eliminated United from the Europa League last month.
Nevertheless, City are reported to be leading the race to sign Herrera, who is one of several Bilbao players to be interesting English clubs, along with striker Fernando Llorente and anchorman Javi Martinez.
Herrera is a box-to-box midfielder and has drawn comparisons to Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and although he has four years left on his contract at the Basque club, the Manchester clubs might be able to lure him away promising Champions League action.
City would do well with a midfielder like Herrera as they have been found wanting several times in the absence of Yaya Toure this season. Furthermore, with Dutchman Nigel de Jong and the injury-prone Owen Hargreaves linked with moves away from the Etihad in the summer, they might zero in on the Bilbao man.
Herrera, who joined Bilbao from Real Zaragoza last summer, has also been linked to Arsenal in the past. The Spaniard has made 37 appearances for his club in all competitions this season, netting four times.
Meanwhile, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Brazilian defender Fabio will go out on loan next season.
A string of injuries have hampered Fabio's progress at United and Ferguson believes the best thing for the wing-back's development now is a short spell away from Old Trafford.
"I hope that Fabio will develop in the same way as his twin, Rafael," Ferguson was quoted as saying another report by The Sun.
"To help him, he will go out on loan next season to give him concentrated first-team experience. I have already talked to him and he understands the value of playing regularly at a higher level than we can give him at the moment," Ferguson added.
Fabio, who moved to Old Trafford from Fluminense with Rafael in 2008, has fallen down the pecking order at United and has only made five appearances in the league this season.