Bengaluru, April 16: Manchester city manager Pep Guardiola is ready to take on Manchester United in the battle to sign Thiago Alcantara this summer.
The Red Devils have earmarked Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago as one of their top transfer targets this summer as they plot a major overhaul of their squad.
However, they face serious competition from local rivals City as Guardiola is very keen on working with the Brazilian for the third time in his career.
Guardiola worked with the Brazil-born Spanish international at Barcelona and Bayern and the two shares a brilliant relationship.
Reports claim that Guardiola believes the 27-year-old is the player he needs to help rebuild a midfield at the Etihad that has started to grow old.
The Cityzens are aware several players in that area of their squad are approaching the final years of their careers.
Yaya Toure is expected to leave the club this summer, while Fernandinho and David Silva both on the wrong of their thirties.
Shaktar Donestk midfielder Fred has already caught their eye of Guardiola but the £50million-rated player is regarded as a potential natural successor to Fernandinho.
Now it seems Thiago is under consideration to come into the ball-playing role in the squad, with David Silva, 32, likely to be used more sparingly from next season.
Guardiola has admitted: "Next season, David maybe will not play every game, that's why the squad has to be big."
Thiago worked with the City boss when he was at Barcelona, and linked up with him again at Bayern in 2013.
On that occasion he rejected the advances of Manchester United to make the move to Munich, but the Old Trafford club has retained a strong interest since then.
Jose Mourinho sees the Spanish international as the ideal player to come into his squad as he tries to close the gap on City at the top.
Michael Carrick is retiring this summer, while Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata could all be on the way out of the club.
But should Guardiola follow through with his interest it would be hard for Thiago to spurn the chance to link up with his former boss for the third time in his career.
He is under contract with Bayern for another three years, but the club are bracing themselves for a big money bid of around £50m this summer.