By Jack Malone

Manchester United are lining up a move for 18-year-old Valencia prospect Fran Villalba, according to Spanish news source El Desmarque.

The report suggests that the youngster has a release clause in his contract worth around £3.6 million and that United could be the club to trigger it.

However, the Manchester side are not the only ones interested in Villalba, with Barcelona also rumoured to be closely monitoring his situation.

Operating mainly as a central or attacking midfielder, the Valencia man has already been likened to his Spanish compatriot David Silva in terms of playing style.

Villalba made his first-team debut last season during the ill-fated managerial reign of United legend Gary Neville, but has failed to break into the side this season despite the club lying 18th in the La Liga table.

This lack of game time appears to have prompted other clubs to try to lure the midfielder away from the Mestalla, where he has spent his entire career to date since joining the youth set up in 2011.

With such strong ties to his current club, Villalba is said to be reluctant to leave at this stage of his development, but that resolve could be sorely tested should one of the giants of the European game come calling.


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