Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is eyeing Italian defender Angelo Ogbonna as a long-tem replacement for ageing Rio Ferdinand, and has also sent scouts to the centre-half's last two Serie A games.
Ogbonna, who is of Nigerian descent, has emerged as one of the best defenders in Italy after coming up the hard way with Serie A side Torino during their time outside the top flight, the Daily Mirror reports.
United have been on his trail for some time, but the search has intensified recently with the Reds still unsure what will happen with Rio Ferdinand in the long term, the paper added.
Ferdinand may move on in the summer when he's due to be out of contract, and 6ft 2in Ogbonna is very much in the frame to be his successor, it said.
The paper further reported that Torino have been quoting huge fees for Ogbonna and United want to be sure about him before committing a large chunk of their budget on him.
Ogbonna was part of Italy's squad for the Euro 2012 finals but did not get a game as they got to the final before losing to Spain. He is seen a certain starter for the future and United could face strong competition for his signature, the paper concluded. (ANI)