Barcelona to beat Man United in race to sign two world-class stars

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Barcelona are set to rival Manchester United for Benfica defender Victor Lindelof and AS Monaco playmaker Bernardo Silva in the summer.

Rumours are rife that both clubs are looking to spend big money to add to their squads at the end of the season. They have each struggled for form at times this term and believe reinforcements will help them to be stronger next year.

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The Red Devils have been long-term admirers of Lindelof in particular and were linked with a move in January. But no deal materialised and the Old Trafford club could now fall behind Barcelona in the race for the Swede.

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According to the Metro, the Blaugrana have sent scouts to Portugal to watch the player as they look to add further depth to their defensive options after signing Samuel Umtiti from Lyon last summer.

The Spanish champions are currently second in LaLiga, a point behind Real Madrid, who have two games in hand. United, meanwhile, are sixth in the Premier League and in a real battle to qualify for the Champions League. If they don’t, they may struggle to clinch some of their targets.

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Barcelona may well be looking to the future with the spine of their team now ageing. Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez recently turned 30, while Lionel Messi will reach that milestone in June. Having previously been able to rely on La Masia, their youth academy, to produce adequate replacements. But with that conveyor belt slowing down somewhat, the Catalan giants are looking towards the transfer market in order to continue the era of dominance they are enjoying.

Another player reportedly being chased by both clubs is Portugal midfielder Silva. United and Barça have strength in depth in the middle of the park, particularly in attacking areas, but the 22-year-old would undoubtedly improve Luis Enrique and Jose Mourinho’s respective squads.

The Sun claim Barça are keen to add Silva to their ranks as a possible replacement for Arda Turan, with the Turkey international continuously attracting interest from the Chinese Super League. Crucially, though, the Monaco man’s agent is the same as Mourinho’s, Jorge Mendes.

If either were able to clinch a deal for Silva, they would have to find a system that both fitted him in the team and got the best out of him. That is where Barcelona have failed particularly, with both Turan and Andre Gomes, a fellow Portuguese international, joining for big money in the past two seasons and struggling to produce their best form alongside Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and 32-year-old Andres Iniesta.

United, too, would struggle. Mourinho has taken time to find a formation which accommodates Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and £89million man Paul Pogba perfectly and adding Silva into the mix could spring up another headache for the boss.

Monaco are no strangers to cashing in on their stars having done so in 2014 when James Rodriguez joined Real Madrid. But the Principality club are well in the Ligue 1 title race against Nice and Paris Saint-Germain and are building a talented young squad. Rodriguez cost Los Blancos over £70million and it is likely Bernardo Silva would cost a similar fee.

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