Manchester City and Manchester United hope to take advantage of the transfer ban imposed on Barcelona, by snatching Alen Halilovic from the Catalan giants’ hands, according to the Express.

Barcelona looked to have agreed a deal with Dinamo Zagreb for the 17-year-old last month, but it now remains to be seen whether the move will be completed in the summer following the ban.

United and City could now join the chase for the talented teenager, dubbed ‘the new Lionel Messi’, although a host of other top European clubs are also monitoring the situation.

FIFA ordered a sanction against Barcelona earlier this week, after the La Liga champions broke the rules when signing 10 Under-18 players whilst committing “several other concurrent infringements”. The club have also been fined £305,000, and will not be allowed to sign players until the summer of 2015 if the ban stands.

The club are expected to appeal, and are hoping the case goes to the Court of Arbitration for sport, as it would delay the transfer ban and allow the club to complete the signing of Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

If not, the club would be left vulnerable in that position, as first choice goalkeeper Victor Valdes has a long term knee injury and has already stated his desire to leave the club in the summer when his contract expires.

A FIFA statement said: “The investigations concerned several minor players who were registered and participated in competitions with the club over various periods between 2009 and 2013.”

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