The Manchester giants could be ready to do battle off the pitch soon, after City and United both sent scouts to watch the same player in Spain on Friday night.
Manchester City’s interest in young Espanyol left-back Aarón Martin was no secret in the summer, with multiple reports stating that he could be the man to back up Mendy, but in the end no deal happened.
And now neighbours Manchester United are showing interest in the 20-year-old, who represents Spain at under-21 level and is considered one of La Liga’s best emerging defenders.
According to Catalan newspaper SPORT, both clubs had representatives in the stands to watch as Espanyol drew 0-0 with Levante on Friday, with the two clubs specifically looking at Aarón.
Espanyol are already working on the basis that they will lose their young jewel soon, be it to either Manchester club or someone else, and are looking at replacements in the €3million to €4million price range. For Aarón to go in January, they would expect any club to pay his full €30million (£26.7million) release clause.
As SPORT explains, the ‘first scare’ for Espanyol came in summer when, they claim, City offered €20million for Aarón (a conflicting report from Marca said no formal bid was ever made) but the Barcelona-based club managed to hang on to him before the window shut.
Manchester United could also make a January move for Aarón with a report in the Daily Express suggesting that Jose Mourinho is a big admirer of the left-back.
City are also considering Valencia left-back José Luis Gayà, 22, in the event they do dip into the market this winter for a left-back, SPORT claims. Meanwhile, Italian reports suggest a January move for Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam could happen, but the Serie A side, who are top if the Italian league, are not interested in selling him despite his contract running out in 2018. Ghoulam would be a more realistic target if City are willing to wait until the summer for a new left-back, while the young Spaniards could move in the new tear.
One incentive for Man City or Man United to move for Aarón Martin in January is the fact that his release clause will rise to €40million (£35.6million) on 30 June 2018, and Espanyol would love to hold on to him for a while longer to maximise their profit.