Barca set to rival Manchester United for starlet

Roma defender MarquinhosBarcelona are preparing a £21m move for Manchester City and Manchester United target Marquinhos, according to reports from talkSPORT.

The 18-year-old Roma star only moved to Italy last summer from Corinthians, but has settled quickly into life in Serie A, producing a series of fine displays.

His consistent form has seen interest in his signature hot up, with both Manchester clubs reportedly monitoring the Brazilian’s situation.

But, their hopes of luring him to the Premier League may have taken a blow, with Barca plotting a big money summer move.

The Catalans are aware that club icon Carles Puyol’s days at very top of the sport are numbered, and are keen to bring in an able partner for Gerard Pique.

Former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has been forced to fill in at centre-back for much of his time at the Nou Camp, highlighting a real lack of depth in their squad.

The Spaniards’ move could spark a bidding war, with both City and United looking to bring in defensive cover.

Marquinhos has displayed a level of maturity beyond his teenage years this term, leading many to speculate that he could develop into one of the best defenders in the world.

Roma may be willing to sell for the right price, having paid just £2.6m for his services last summer.

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