Manchester United and Liverpool face competition from Italy in the race to sign Dutch striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, according to reports.

The Sporting Lisbon hitman has been heavily linked with a move to England in the past, with a handful of Barclays Premier League clubs thought to be keen on the player before his move to Portugal from FC Utrecht in the summer.

Clubs from across Europe continue to be linked with the 22-year-old though, and The Daily Mirror now reports that Serie 'A' giants Lazio are preparing a £13 million offer for the player in the coming days.

The report goes on to claim that both Kenny Dalglish and Sir Alex Ferguson were set to wait until the summer to table a bid for the player, but could be alerted into more immediate action if the Italian side make a move over the coming days.

Sporting are said to be hoping for a figure in the region of £22 million for the player, who has taken his impressive form from the Eredivisie into life in the Primera Liga.

A Liverpool move would appear to make most sense at the current time, with the Anfield outfit short of goals during Luis Suarez's eight-game ban and the lack of form currently bestowing Andy Carroll.

As for Manchester United, they've been linked with a number of strikers despite Ferguson's claims that the club aren't looking to do business this month.

Van Wolfswinkel is said to be one of those on the radar, but a move for a forward would seem to hinge on Dimitar Berbatov. Should the Bulgarian leave Old Trafford, then a move for the Holland international seems more likely than at the current time.

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