Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Sporting's Ricky van Wolfswinkel celebrates his goal against Gil Vicente during their Portuguese Premier League soccer match at Alvalade stadium in Lisbon REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

With the January transfer window approaching fast, Valencia have emerged as potential contenders for Sporting Lisbon's Dutch targetman Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who was previously monitored by Manchester United.

Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan previously admitted that the club is interested in the Dutch striker, and now Spanish La Liga club Valencia have also joined the race to sign the 22-year-old this January.

Apart from United and Valencia, Liverpool is also said to have watched the player who has had an impressive record at the Portuguese Primeira Liga thus far with Sporting since his arrival from FC Utrecht.

United, with the departure of Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov looming on the horizon, is in search of a replacement and van Wolfswinkel may seem as the perfect player to fit in into United's already talented forward line.

Sporting, however, will be keen to hold on to the player as long as possible, but a fee of around £22 million could well see the striker shift clubs, according to a Talksport report.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel started his senior career with Vitesse Arnhem and he scored his first Eredivisie goal in his third game for the club against Sparta Rotterdam. He joined Utrecht in May 2009 where he signed a three years contract and made 63 appearances for the club, scoring 26 times.

He later joined Sporting in 2011 where he has managed to net six goals out of just eight games.