Manchester United make shock move for Barcelona midfielder Song

The Premier League champions are prepared to spend £12.5 million to land the former Arsenal star but face competition from Liverpool, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Manchester United have made a shock move for Barcelona midfielder Alex Song, Goal understands.

The Red Devils have indicated that they are willing to spend £12.5 million to land the former Arsenal star.

Liverpool, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid are also keeping close tabs on Song, who is expected to leave Camp Nou this summer, but Goal understands that United are in pole position to capture the Cameroon international as manager David Moyes steps up plans to reinforce his central midfield.

By Pilar Suarez | Goal Spain

Alex Song has been with Barcelona for two seasons but has failed to really cement his place in the team and is not thought to be a key player for the future.

Of course, everyone at Camp Nou is waiting on what will happen regarding Fifa's transfer ban. For now, Xavi, Sergi Roberto, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets provide good options but really the club need to strengthen, not weaken, their options in midfield so the result of their appeal against the ban could be key to sales as well as purchases this summer.
Moyes, who is also targeting Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos and Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho, is an admirer of Song's ability to anchor the midfield as well as fill in at centre-back.

The 26-year-old has appeared in 28 of Barcelona's 53 matches in all competitions this season but has struggled to cement a regular first-team spot. He has started only 12 of the club's 43 league and Champions League matches and is now prepared to call time on his spell at Barca even though he has three years remaining on his contract.

The Spanish giants are willing to cash in on the Cameroonian if they can recover most of the £15m fee that they paid Arsenal for him in the summer of 2012.

Fifa has imposed a transfer ban on Barcelona for the next two windows but this would not prevent the club from selling players.

Vice president Manel Arroyo said last week that Barca will appeal against the decision in a bid to get the ban suspended and that "our legal team is working so that we'll be able to sign new players this summer".

Song joined Arsenal from French club Bastia as an 18-year-old and spent seven years at the Emirates Stadium, where he established himself as a key component of Arsene Wenger's midfield before following in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas by moving to Barcelona.