Manchester United are monitoring Athletic Bilbao’s Oscar De Marcos after Sir Alex Ferguson sent a scout to watch him play against Barcelona at the weekend.

The dynamic midfielder impressed against United in the Europa League last season and Ferguson was interested in bringing him to Old Trafford last summer, only to be put off by Bilbao’s £25million valuation.

With the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs coming close to the end of their careers, the United boss is keen to add fresh blood to his squad to compensate for the eventual losses of two players that have been ever-present at the club.

Ferguson has now resumed his interest in signing De Marcos and sent brother Martin Ferguson, his top European scout, to watch the 23-year-old in action against Barcelona.

Last year’s Europa League runners up Bilbao, who comprehensively beat United on the way to the final, are struggling in La Liga this season and many of their star players are said to be looking for a move away.

This may mean the club are willing to lower their asking price for players such as De Marcos, however United can still expect to have to offer around £20million to sign him.

If bought in the January transfer window, he would still be eligible to play in the Champions League which will provide added appeal for Ferguson as his side enter the knockout rounds of the tournament in February.

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