Cape Town - Louis Van Gaal is facing competition from cross-city rivals Manchester City in the race to sign Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.
Rakitic, who starred for Croatia at the world cup has been long admired by the Manchester United manager and the 20-time league champions are ready to make a £20m bid, reports the Express.
Barcelona secured the Croatians services from Sevilla in a deal worth £14m in the summer but coach Luis Enrique has failed to give the 26-year-old a consistent run in the first team.
Rakitic was brought in as a long-term replacement for talisman Xavi Hernandez but has failed to impress the Camp Nou faithful.
It has emerged that Manchester City are also in the market for an attacking midfielder and has joined the race to sign the Croatian who can play centrally or in a more attacking role.
Manuel Pelligrini is eyeing a move for Rakitic with Frank Lampard due to return to New York City FC in January.
The former England talisman who has scored six goals in 14 matches since his transfer in August and will need to be replaced if and when he departs the Citizens.