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

English Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea, according to new reports, are competing with league rivals Liverpool, to lure Portuguese Primeira Liga club Sporting Lisbon's Dutch hitman Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

The player's agent, Louis Laros, has not ruled out a January move for the striker, although he has declared it unlikely. He has also revealed that both Manchester United and Chelsea have been monitoring the 22-year-old's development for some time. Laros did also say that no clubs have spoken to him, as yet, and that Sporting were unwilling to let the player go at the moment.

The player was linked, last summer, with a move to Merseyside giants Liverpool but the club's interest reportedly cooled down. However, the Dutchman has been in wonderful form this season for his current club, having scored 9 goals in his 11 starts. Unsurprisingly then, both United and Chelsea are looking to bring the player to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, respectively.

The fact that both United and Chelsea seem to be on the lookout for extra firepower up front is to be expected, given that the former is, in a sense, rebuilding for the future, with youngsters like Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez learning from more experienced heads like Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen.

Chelsea, who are also looking for long-term replacements, are planning to fill a more immediate void to be left by one of Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda or Didier Drogba and van Wolfswinkel should fit the bill perfectly.

Sporting Lisbon are, currently in third position in their domestic league, with 21 points from 11 games.