As per new reports, English Premier League heavyweights Manchester United and Liverpool have targeted Italian Serie A side Lecce's exciting Colombian youngster Luis Muriel and will look to lure away the player to England as soon as the transfer window opens.
Dubbed the Colombian Ronaldo, Muriel (21), has been stated by many as one of the best foreign talents to play in the Serie A in recent years and a few has also compared the youngster to Cristiano Ronaldo. The talented forward has made such an impact in Italy that even the Italian national football team manager Cesare Prandelli has asked to be introduced to him.
It is being said that Liverpool football chief Damien Comilli, before his sacking, enquired about the player's status and if he would be available for a transfer. Liverpool further enquired about Muriel when they were on the verge of striking a deal for senior players Moroccan international Mehdi Benatia and fellow Colombian Pablo Armero.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, on the other hand, was informed about the exciting new youngster by his Italian scout David Williams who made further personal enquiries about the player about a potential transfer to England in the summer.
Muriel's discovery is yet another triumph of Udinese's brilliant South American scouting network. The player was brought into light by the same network that brought Chilean international Alexis Sanchez to Europe before he was sold to Barcelona last season for a hefty $34.14 million (€26 million).
Udinese shareholder Jean Paolo Pozzo, on Colombian radio last week, stated how highly the clubs rates Muriel. He even added that Muriel is worth one and a half more than Alexis Sanchez. Lecce manager Serse Cosmi believes that the player showcases pure talent, similar to Ronaldo, and needs to be improved as he is very young. Italy manager Prandelli believes Muriel is an extrodinary player.
Muriel, himself, is very modest and feels that the pressure of a relegation battle has accelerated his development. He stated that fighting relegation every Sunday with Lecce, where he is serving on loan, automatically makes a player serious as there are no chances to relax, and although the pressure is difficult, it is beneficial to his career.
However, to the horror of both United and Liverpool, Serie A giants Milan are also monitoring the player and the Rossoneri manager Massimiliano Allegri has asked the club chiefs to make further enquiries with Udinese about the availability of the player with a $13.13 million (€10 million) summer deal, according to a Tribal Football report.