Manchester United have been told that they must spend big if they hope to land in-demand Porto starlet James Rodriguez during the January transfer window.

The Colombia international has been dubbed the 'new Cristiano Ronaldo', but Sir Alex Ferguson will have to spend almost three times as much on Rodriguez as he did when Ronaldo signed for Manchester United in 2003.

According to the Daily Mail, the Manchester United boss sent scouts to watch Rodriguez in action for Porto on Friday night, but has now been left stunned by the Portuguese club's asking price.

Porto have reportedly informed Manchester United that it will cost £36 million to trigger the release clause in the contract of Rodriguez, having initially been told £24 million would be enough to buy the 21-year-old out of his deal.

The potential arrival of Rodriguez at Old Trafford is expected to signal the end for Luis Nani as a Manchester United player, with the Portuguese initially viewed as a successor to Ronaldo when his compatriot left for Real Madrid.

Nani was Manchester United's Player of the Season in 2010/11, but has found his role with the club become increasingly limited since, and attracted the ire of Ferguson for his antics in the Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea.

The Portugal international has made 204 appearances for Manchester United since following the same path as Ronaldo by joining the Red Devils from Sporting.

Topics:
#Premier League
#Manchester United
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