AC Milan have confirmed they are in talks with Manchester United about playing a prestige friendly in the new year.
Neither club is in the Champions League nor Europa League this season and they are exploring the options of playing each other in a lucrative one-off game, almost certainly in the Middle East.
United boss Louis van Gaal's plans for the teams had been a potential sticking point but he confirmed earlier this month that he backed the idea of meeting top-class opposition midweek.
AC Milan's director Umberto Gandini confirmed a friendly with United was on the agenda.
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI
1/11 Goalkeeper - David De Gea
Manchester United might have conceded more goals than City (13 to 10) but De Gea hasn't been to blame. The Spaniard has been making crucial saves this season, such as when Eden Hazard got in one-on-one last weekend and his superhero-esque save late on against Everton. It's led to talk of a move to Real Madrid for the former Atletico stopper and sees him get in ahead of Joe Hart.
2/11 Left-back - Gael Clichy
Luke Shaw is starting to show glimpses of why United paid so much money for a 19-year-old, but not enough to be selected ahead of the much more experienced Clichy. The Frenchman is doing enough to keep out Aleksandar Kolarov more often than not and looks assured at the back and is always a threat going forward.
3/11 Centre-back - Vincent Kompany
Whilst Louis van Gaal struggles to work out what his best options at centre-back are, Kompany has been looking his usual assured self. The captain has been gobbling up strikers and continues to put in exquisitely timed tackles with incredible regularity.
4/11 Centre-back - Martin Demichelis
The Argentinian was something of a laughing stock last season but has now settled and continues to look like Kompany's best partner at the back despite the big-money arrival of Eliaquim Mangala. Demichelis has made nine appearances to the summer signing's six so far this season. Marcos Rojo would be the stand-out challenger from United for the position, but he doesn't look comfortable at centre-back and recent performances suggest he's at risk of ending up a bigger laughing stock than Demichelis was.
5/11 Right-back - Pablo Zabaleta
Rafael has been the regular starter at United when fit but the Brazilian continues to ask more questions than he answers with sporadic performances that at moments make him look like the next Gary Neville, but in others more like Phil at Euro 2000. That's why Zabaleta has little trouble being selected as our right-back.
6/11 Holding midfielder - Daley Blind
Manchester City provided three options for this position but none of them warrant a place ahead of Blind. Yaya Toure has looked nowhere near his best whilst Pellegrini can't seem to work out if Fernando or Fernandinho is a better option alongside him. Meanwhile Blind has made a great start since joining from Ajax. Sitting deep, the Dutchman's sharp passing provides the base for attacks whilst his even sharper tackling stops opponents in their tracks. His late equaliser in the 2-2 draw with West Brom proved he can operate further forward as well if required.
7/11 Midfielder - David Silva
The little Spaniard is a class act that would probably get in any side. An eye for a pass and ability to deliver it ensure he is always among City's chief threats from the centre of the park. His goal in the recent defeat to West Ham was pure class. Silva manages to keep his fellow Spaniard Juan Mata out of the side. The former Chelsea player has been decent this season but not done enough to ensure he should be a regular in the United side when everyone is fit.
8/11 Midfielder - James Milner
He's not the most fashionable player, but as The Independent's Paul Scholes wrote earlier this season, every team should have a Milner. Scholes said: 'I would say he is an excellent attacking player in his own right. Milner’s team-mates will be very glad to have him around, even if he does not always get the acclaim elsewhere.' The England international keeps Ander Herrera out, but only just because the Spaniard has impressed since arriving at Old Trafford.
9/11 Forward - Angel Di Maria
Manchester United paid a British record transfer fee to bring Di Maria in from Real Madrid and thus far he's looked worth every penny. The Argentina international has brought back that width and pace so much associated with United and despite concerns over his goalscoring record has netted three times in his seven games for United so far. Playing on the left-hand side, he keeps out Stevan Jovetic, despite the Montenegrin looking better than he ever has done since signing for City.
10/11 Forward - Sergio Aguero
Aguero or Robin van Persie? It'd be a nice conundrum for a manager to enjoy but based on the season so far, it goes to the Manchester City striker. The Argentinian has 11 goals from 12 games - despite only looking half-fit for most of it. Aguero is quite simply the best striker in the Premier League. In contrast, Van Persie has struggled this term despite the presence of his international mentor Van Gaal. His shirtless celebration after scoring a late equaliser against Chelsea showed his relief at getting back among the goals, and highlighted how frustrating a season it has been up to this point.
11/11 Forward - Wayne Rooney
Edin Dzeko has impressed in a City shirt this term but not as much as Rooney. And as well as keeping out the Bosnian, the Manchester United captain also keeps team-mate Radamel Falcao away from our combined XI. The arrival of the Colombian was supposed to signal the return of the good times at Old Trafford, but between being jet-lagged and not match-fit, Falcao has failed to make an impact with just one goal so far. In contrast, prior to his suspension Rooney had looked in strong form with six goals in 10 appearances for club and country. However, the temperament that got him a red card means the armband goes to the City captain Kompany in this XI.
Gandini told Press Association Sport: "This is something we have been talking about for a few weeks and we have a committed interest to do something together.
"It's just a question to find the right date and then to find the right place."
One possible date would be around Wednesday January 28, which does not clash with any European matches nor any Italian Cup games. There are Capital One Cup semi-finals taking place but that would not impact on United playing a friendly.
In 2008 a full-strength United squad played a testimonial game in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia, in front of sell-out 69,000 crowd on a Monday night and then had a spell at a warm-weather training camp before returning for an FA Cup match.
Van Gaal said earlier this month that he wanted his team to play top teams in midweek and had spoken about it to United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and managing director Richard Arnold.
Van Gaal said: "I like to play midweek games against high-level opponents."
Both United and Milan could expect to earn more than £1million from the match.
United expect a drop in income of up to £48million as a result of failing to qualify for the Champions League under David Moyes.
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