Manchester United are reportedly considering a surprise January swoop for Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino.
Juventus are also thought to be interested in the €17 million-rated 28-year-old and, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, will do battle with the Premier League table toppers.
Should United formalise their interest in the Italy international, Fiorentina will reportedly demand youngster Federico Macheda is thrown into the deal.
However, according the Daily Mail, Sir Alex Ferguson is reluctant to let the Italy under 21 forward leave Old Trafford on anything other than a temporary basis.
The 19-year-old has been linked with a January move away from Old Trafford but the United boss is said to be keen to keep him at the club as he continues to develop a squad for the future.
The Red Devils also have Mexican starlet Javier Hernandez among their number and – with Danny Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf gaining experience out on loan – United have a striking department with plenty of potential.
However, with Michael Owen seemingly likely to leave Old Trafford either in January or the summer, Ferguson is thought to be contemplating adding extra experience to his squad.
United would get just that with Gilardino who – despite hardly being prolific since leaving Parma in 2005 – has enjoyed fruitful spells with AC Milan and now Fiorentina.
Despite reportedly being on the lookout for a new forward, the most pressing issue for United remains the acquisition of a new goalkeeper.
With Edwin van der Sar set to retire at the end of the season, the Old Trafford club are scouring the transfer market for a new no.1 gloveman.
Danish stopper Anders Lindegaard has already joined United as cover, while Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon and Athletic Madrid star David de Gea have been linked with moves to Old Trafford.
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