Manchester United may be top of the Premier League, through the next phase of the Champions League and scoring goals for fun, but boss Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly remains keen on bolstering his attacking options.
Two names reportedly firmly on Ferguson’s wanted list are wingers James Rodriguez and Tom Ince.
Porto star Rodriguez has emerged as one of the leading young talents in Europe and has continued his reputation as a prolific goal scorer from wide positions as he has scored five goals in as many league games this season, following a record of 13 goals in 14 league games over the last campaign.
The Colombian 21-year-old has been compared in some circles to former United great Cristiano Ronaldo. According to the Daily Mail, Ferguson again sent a scout to watch Rodriguez in action as Porto took on Maritimo last Friday. The watching brief is unlikely to have deterred United’s interest with Rodriguez netting a brace in a 5-0 victory.
Porto are notoriously tough negotiators in the transfer market, though, and United could yet be priced out of a move. That fear will likely have increased for Ferguson with Rodriguez recently renegotiating his contract with Porto to include an increased buyout clause of £36 million.
One possible solution, according to the Mail, would be to include unsettled United winger Nani in a deal, although Porto are unlikely to be able to match the Portugal international’s wage demands.
If a move for Rodriguez does not prove financially viable, then a deal for Blackpool winger Ince could well be on the cards. The 20-year-old, son of former United midfielder Paul Ince, has repeatedly been linked with Manchester United in recent weeks on the back of his impressive performances in the Championship. Ince has scored eight goals in 13 league appearance this season.
Ince continued his fine form with a goal in Blackpool’s 2-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday and United are stepping up their interest in the England Under-21 international, according to the Daily Mail.
Another youngster said to be on Manchester United’s radar is Heerenveen attacking midfielder Filip Djuricic. The Daily Star claims that the 20-year-old has been monitored by United for some time and that they even tried to sign him after a trial at the club in 2009 before being thwarted by work permit issues.
Now the tabloid reports that Liverpool are set to capture the Serbia international in a potential £4 million deal.
United are also said to be set to go head to head with another of their Premier League rivals over Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender. The Sun reports that United and Arsenal are both interested in the £20-million-rated Germany international.
It may be that both clubs miss out on the versatile 23-year-old, though, with Leverkusen director Wolfgang Holzhauser firmly stating that “We won’t sell anyone.”
Bender, the brother of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Sven, was included in Germany’s Euro 2012 squad and started and scored in the group match against Denmark as a right back. That versatility is likely to only increase his appeal to Ferguson.