Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to make a £20m swoop for Manchester City targets Alen Halilovic and Sime Vrsaljko, according to the Daily Mail.

Manchester United chief executive David Gill travelled to Croatia on Tuesday to hold negotiations over the £15m capture of teenage midfielder Alen Halilovic, dubbed the 'next Lionel Messi', and 20-year-old Sime Vrsajko.

Halilovic and Vrsajko are reportedly top January transfer targets for Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, but Ferguson is hopeful of sealing a deal to bring the pair to Old Trafford.

Halilovic is rated as one of the hottest young prospects in world football, and a number of Europe's top clubs are thought to have scouted the 16-year-old playmaker.

The teenage star scored his first goal for Zagreb this season, and has been compared to Luka Modric and Lionel Messi.

Manchester City were thought to be keen to bring Halilovic to the Etihad Stadium, but Dinamo's sporting director Zdravko Mamic dismissed City's reported £7m bid out of hand.

Vrsaljko, in contrast, primarily operates as a right-back, and Ferguson is believed to be considering a move for the defender to strengthen his options heading into the title race. The youngster only has Rafael as a right-back, but Chris Smalling and Phil Jones can both deputise at the position.

Gill flew back to Manchester on Wednesday, and the Daily Mail report that United now believe they lead the pursuit for the Dinamo Zagreb duo - at the expense of Manchester City.

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