10 things you need to know about Man United target Yoann Gourcuff - plus video of him in action
Sir Alex Ferguson is looking to boost his midfield options by signing French midfielder Yoann Gourcuff, according to reports in the press this morning.
The Bordeaux star has attracted attention from a host of top clubs over the past year, with United now seemingly ready to splash the cash.
But just what do we know about the young Frenchman with the quick feet? MirrorFootball's Massimo Marioni investigates...
1) His full name is Yoann Miguel Gourcuff and he was born on July 11, 1986.
2) He first launched himself onto the football scene while at Rennes between 2003-06, guiding them to their best ever league finish in 2004/05 when they came fourth in Ligue 1.
3) In 2005/06 he was given the Number 10 shirt and formed a formidable partnership with Kim Kallstrom, scoring six goals and adding eight assists in 36 league appearances, earning himself a move to AC Milan for a modest £3.5million.
4) However he was restricted to just 36 league appearances in two years at Milan - 23 of those coming off the bench - mainly due to him being in direct competition with a certain World Player of the Year called Kaka. He also wasn't flavour of the month with the then Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, who controversially blasted the players mental toughness, saying: "He is very talented, but weak psychologically."
5) Gourcuff then unsurprisingly made the move back to France and joined Bordeaux on a one-year loan, with the option to buy for a set fee, and quickly rediscovered his potential, finishing a dazzling 2008-09 season with 12 goals and eight assists in 37 league appearances, helping Bordeaux claim the French league and cup double.
6) Gourcuff scooped the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award in 2008/09. This is just an example of why...
7) Bordeaux then wasted no time in snapping the player up permanently for somewhere in the region of £13million, despite AC Milan wanting the player back at the San Siro. Having settled well back in his homeland, his superb performances didn't go unnoticed, and he was named French Player of the Year for 2009.
8) The 24-year-old's playing style and appearance has drawn him comparisons to French legend Zinadine Zidane - earning him the nickname "Petit Zizou" (little Zidane), and he occupied the playmaker role vacated by Zidane in France's ill-fated World Cup campaign in South Africa.
9) Gourcuff was rumored to be at the centre of a bizarre plot during France's World Cup fiasco, when senior players were not happy that Raymond Domenech was building his team around Gourcuff. The story goes they wanted Thierry Henry and Florent Malouda reinstated to the line-up, and when Domenech refused, Franck Ribery and Nicolas Anelka (allegedly) refused to pass him the ball in the opening game against Uruguay, which may go towards explaining his under whelming performances throughout the tournament. It's suggested that because Gourcuff is well brought up and comes from a comfortable background, he's from a different mould to the "ghetto gangsters" like Ribery, Henry, Eric Abidal, and Anelka.
10) Last Summer rumours were abound that the mercurial Frenchman was on the move, with a host of Europe's top names linked with his signature. However, somewhat surprisingly, it was French rivals Lyon who announced on the 23rd of August that they had agreed a deal to sign him. Two days later the 5-year contract was completed, and a figure of €22 million was all it took. However, the dream move has endured a stuttering start, as Lyon are currently languishing in 17th place after eight games, and despite playing seven games, Gourcuff has yet to find the net. Worst of all was the two 2-0 defeat at the hands of his previous club, Bordeaux.