Man Utd and Chelsea are reportedly now ahead of Barcelona in the race to sign Gremio's Arthur after the Catalans' spending spree.

United and Chelsea linked to Arthur swoop

United and Chelsea linked to Arthur swoop

The Daily Mail claims the two English clubs could be left to fight it out for the signature of the 21-year-old central midfielder - likened to Cesc Fabregas in some quarters.

The Brazilian was first linked to the Red Devils back in November after impressing for his club on the way to their Copa Libertadores triumph.

Barcelona sent sporting director Robert Fernandez to watch him in the final and, despite twisting his ankle and being substituted after 50 minutes, Arthur was named Man of the Match.

He was later photographed wearing a Barca shirt presented to him by Fernandez, but the La Liga leaders pursued other targets in January.

The signings of Phillipe Coutinho and Yerry Mina for a combined £155million have seen Barca pull up the shutters on their spending, leaving the Gremio star on the shelf until the summer.

United and Chelsea are said to be weighing up £35million bids, a figure just short of the player's release clause, according to the Daily Mail.