EXCLUSIVE: Fergie's out shopping for a Basque
Published 22:31 04/04/12 By Alan Nixon
Manchester United are chasing Spanish star Oscar de Marcos - the Athletic Bilbao flier who knocked them out of Europe.
Highly-rated De Marcos will be watched by United’s chief scout Jim Lawlor after boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s brother Martin looked at him last week.
De Marcos - 23 later this month - has been an all-action revelation under coach Marcelo Bielsa and scored in both legs against United in the Europa League showdowns.
United saw enough of De Marcos in those games to increase their interest and the follow-up trips point to an offer for him in the summer.
Fergie wants fresh legs in his midfield - where Paul Scholes has come back but cannot go on forever - and De Marcos is in a similar mould.
Bilbao are reluctant to sell their players because they can only recruit from their region, so United will have to pay top money for De Marcos but he is now officially on their shortlist.
De Marcos has a release clause of £26million in his contract, although United would be reluctant to offer that much for a player who has yet to be capped by Spain.
Ferguson has also looked at Lille’s Belgian star Eden Hazard, but de Marcos is a viable option for the priority position in his squad.
United also liked other Bilbao players in their outstanding home-and-away triumph but de Marcos’s name is being mentioned in the highest places.