Manchester United are leading the race to sign highly-rated Palermo forward Javier Pastore, according to reports in Argentina.
The Premier League giants are thought to be close to agreeing a €40million (£34million), four-year deal for the 21-year-old Argentina international, regarded as a superstar of the future following a raft of dazzling Serie A displays.
Pastore had been linked with a move to Barcelona after revealing his dream to play for the Spanish giants, while Barca ace and compatriot Lionel Messi was reportedly desperate for coach Pep Guardiola to bring him to Camp Nou.
But Argentine radio station Radio Sucesos reported on Thursday the Spanish giants have refused to meet Palermo's price tag.
And that has paved the way for the Red Devils to swoop, with Pastore's agent Marcello Simonean understood to be in England negotiating the details of a potential deal.
Pastore has fired in 10 Serie A goals this season for Palermo, who have refused to comment on speculation surrounding his future.
The attacking midfielder was also linked with a move to United's fierce rivals Manchester City in the January transfer window, with manager Roberto Mancini admitting his interest in the youngster.
Pastore, who arrived in Italy from native club Huracan in 2009, made his international debut the same year and went on to represent Argentina at last summer's World Cup finals.
He penned a new five-year deal at Palermo in January after claiming to spurn interest from both Barca and Real Madrid in favour of playing regular football at the Sicilian club.