Manchester United sent scouts to watch FC Porto winger James Rodriguez in yesterday’s clash against Academica, according to reports.

Portuguese publication Record claims the Red Devils ‘returned’ to watch the 21-year-old Colombian international in action during the 2-1 win, having been heavily linked with a move for the player in the past.

The Daily Mail reported last week that Manchester United would need to pay £36 million to secure the player’s services in the transfer window, a 50% increase on the price previously quoted to Sir Alex Ferguson.

That figure doesn’t appear to have put last season’s Premier League runners-up off the player however, with club scouts joining representatives from Everton, Montpellier and Anderlecht in the stands at the Estadio do Dragao.

Capable of playing as an attacking midfielder as well as on the wing, Rodriguez has been dubbed ‘the new Cristiano Ronaldo’ by sections of the media, and the former Banfield starlet would have big boots to fill if he were to follow in the footsteps of the Portuguese superstar.

Ronaldo left Sporting Lisbon for Manchester United in 2003, and enjoyed six years of unprecedented success with the English giants before leaving for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009.

United will face strong competition for Rodriguez’s signature however, with Inter Milan amongst other clubs keen on the player.

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