Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is determined to land Crystal Palace rising star Wilfried Zaha and is prepared to outbid his rivals to attain the 20-year-old’s signature, according to the Sunday People.
Speculation over Zaha’s future has intensified in recent weeks after a string of fine performances in the Championship led to a first England cap against Sweden last week. Arsenal have long been linked to the winger, while Tottenham are also reportedly interested.
However, Zaha’s performance against a Peterborough side managed by Darren Ferguson, son of Sir Alex, has reportedly persuaded the United boss to do what it takes to land the Ivory Coast born prospect. According to the People, a Unites source said: “Sir Alex now thinks Zaha has the skill and bottle to play for United—and he wants him badly.”
That could mean United having to splash out £20 million; a price that Palace co-chairman Steve Parish recently claimed Zaha was worth. United may try to tempt Palace into a deal with Goal.com recently reporting that Zaha would be allowed to remain at Palace until the end of the season as part of any deal.
With Nani yet to agree a new contract at Old Trafford, amid continued speculation over his long-term future, Zaha could be seen as a replacement for the Portuguese winger. The Manchester Evening News even claims that Nani could leave as early as January.
One winger that all but certainly will not to be arriving at Old Trafford in the near future is former United star Cristiano Ronaldo. The man who wowed United fans between 2003 and 2009 has been the subject of rumors about his state of happiness at Real Madrid this season. That led to some reports of an unlikely return to the Red Devils, although Ferguson has said that a move for the Portugal international is unfeasible.
“What would you think his value would be? He’s definitely unbuyable,” said Ferguson, according to the Manchester Evening News.
“Who could afford to buy him?”
Ferguson looks to be more optimistic about landing a pair of German internationals. The Daily Mirror reports that United are keen on signing Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender and are prepared to offer £25 million for each.
Hummels has frequently been discussed as a United target in recent seasons as the 23-year-old has helped Dortmund to back-to-back Bundesliga titles.
Despite having five senior center-backs, United have been vulnerable in the key position over the past 18 months. Rio Ferdinand is now 34 and out of contract at the end of the season, while Nemanja Vidic is currently sidelined with his second major injury in the space of two seasons. There also remain doubts about the ability of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to become the bedrock of United’s defense for years to come.
Bender is another player that could perform a useful role at Old Trafford, given United’s long-time deficiencies in central midfield. Also aged 23, Bender was part of Germany’s Euro 2012 squad and filled in at right-back and got himself on the scoresheet in the victory over Denmark.
Both Bender and Hummels were reportedly watched by United’s chief scout Martin Ferguson during Germany’s goalless draw in the Netherlands last week.