REAL MADRID have been linked with a shock move to sign Marcus Rashford this summer.
The Spanish giants are preparing for a major overhaul of their squad after falling well short in their attempt to defend the La Liga title.
One of the biggest areas of their focus is on bringing in at least one new striker to start taking the goalscoring burden off Cristiano Ronaldo.
And Catalan title Sport claim Rashford is one of the names on the list of potential targets for Zinedine Zidane.
Real have held a long-standing interest in Tottenham striker Harry Kane – though the prospect of having to stump up £200million to get him has seen their interest cool.
Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowksi is seen as the most likely to move to the Bernabeu now that he has made it clear he is looking to quit the Bundesliga.
But the reports claim Rashford’s struggle to get regular starting roles at Manchester United this season have given Real encouragement that he could be available.
Zidane and officials at the club have been impressed by the 20-year-old ever since he burst on to the scene two years ago in sensational style.
His calmness in front of goal quickly caught the eye, but the Spanish club are also said to be impressed by his all-round style of play.
They believe the fact he is versatile and able to rotate around the front line makes him the kind of player who would succeed in their team.
And of all the strikers who could be available this summer, Rashford’s age makes him the best long-term signing – especially when compared to Lewandowksi who is approaching 30 and could still cost as much as £100m.
Liverpool’s Mo Salah is another who has been highlighted, but with Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona also keen it could take £200m to grab him.
Rashford would probably cost half that figure, and with so much of his career ahead of him he would be seen as potentially better value than anyone else.
The England star is contracted to United for another two seasons and is currently in talks about extending his stay at Old Trafford.
But one area of concern for the player is whether he will get enough action to continue his meteoric development.
He has often been deployed out wide under Jose Mourinho with Romelu Lukaku regarded as the senior central striker at the club.
And he has also been forced to accept being used as a squad player for large parts of the campaign – a situation which has worsened since the club signed Alexis Sanchez in January.
United themselves still see the home-grown talent as a vital part of their future planning, but the uncertainty over his role could see Rashford consider looking elsewhere if he feels he is not getting enough game time.