UNITED AND JUVE IN FOR BARCA WINGER?
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The exciting Portuguese starlet has been unable to hold down a regular place at Barca and an exit looks inevitable once the Spanish season draws to a close.
A switch to Serie A has long been touted for the 21-year-old, who has already represented his country at full international level, and is rated as one for the future.
Indeed, major things were expected of Simao when he left Sporting Lisbon for £9.2 million in 1999, with 'the new Luis Figo' a tag inevitably placed upon his young shoulders.
There is a great feeling he is stagnating in Catalunya and, as he has now recovered from injury, Barca are prepared to listen to offers - even though he is under contract until 2007.
Juve are probably favourites to snap him up but, if sources in Portugal and Spain prove correct, United are ready to table a firm bid for the right winger, presumably with Sir Alex Ferguson developing the idea of moving David Beckham into a more central role in the midfield.
Meanwhile, Barca coach Carles Rexach feels there is not a problem with his goalkeepers, although the club are trying to sign Francesco Toldo or Jerzy Dudek.
"I trust Dutruel, Arnau and Reina," he said. "Barcelona is well covered.
"Dudek? He has possibilities, an interesting price, but he is a non-EC player."