Barcelona keen to sign Man Utd talent in January amid contract standoff

Barcelona want to sign one of Manchester United's most promising young players in the January transfer window, according to reports from Spain.

The La Liga giants are targeting a move for Arnau Puigmal, who has stood out for United's under-23s and is currently their top scorer despite usually playing as a right-back or in midfield.

And with Puigmal's contract set to expire next summer, Barca are hoping they can tempt the Spain under-19 international back to his homeland.

Puigmal can play as a right-back, in central midfield or on the wing, and as U23s boss Neil Wood says, "he likes to run forward and attack".

The 19-year-old has scored three goals and notched two assists in just two games so far this season in Premier League 2, and has also netted in the EFL Trophy.

Barcelona wanted Puigmal three years ago when he was with Espanyol, according to Sport, but the Catalan club were beaten to his signature by United.

The Spanish publication reports that Barca aim to hijack any plans United might have of tying Puigmal to a new deal by making a move for the teenager in January.

Barca B boss Garcia Pimienta needs a new right-back, and is said to admire Puigmal's versatility – with the youngster having even played as a second striker in Spain's international age-group set-up.

Puigmal is said to be ready to take the next step in his career having impressed for United's U23s – although it remains to be seen whether this would mean moving to another club.

According to Sport, Barca feel confident he would welcome a return to his native Spain, and are optimistic of signing him despite knowing they will not be the only team interested in him in January.

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