Manchester United are monitoring Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross as they consider whether to bid for the former-United youth team player.

According to Sky Sports, the Old Trafford club are tracking the Stoke centre-back, and could move for the 25-year-old as they look to ease their defensive injury crisis.

United captain Nemanja Vidic is currently sidelined, and Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have all spent time on the physio table this season.

But the report suggests Sir Alex Ferguson is not the only manager monitoring Shawcross. Chelsea and Tottenham are both also thought to be considering bids for the former-United youth star.

The Potters skipper earned his first call-up to the England squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, after a number of excellent performances for Tony Pulis's side.

The 25-year-old has been an integral part of a Stoke team that has consolidated its position in the Premier League since promotion from the Championship in 2008.

Shawcross now has 18 months left to run on his Stoke contract, and Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are considering making a move, but Tony Pulis is thought to be willing to fight hard to keep hold of his talented defender.

The 6ft 3in centre-back spent six years at United as a youngster, but departed for Stoke after a successful loan spell in 2008.

Like United, Chelsea are also thought to be in the market for extra defensive cover, and Shawcross has proven himself a dependable Premier League performer. Chelsea have John Terry, Gary Cahill and David Luiz as their three first-choice centre-backs at the moment.

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