Manchester United have identified reported Liverpool transfer target Angelo Ogbonna as a potential replacement for Rio Ferdinand, it has been claimed.

Ogbonna has been linked with a transfer to Liverpool for some time but, it would appear, the Reds could be beaten to the signature of the Italy international by bitter rivals Manchester United.

According to The Mirror, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has sent scouts to watch Ogbonna in his last two outings for Torino, although it is unclear if a formal approach will be made by the Old Trafford club in the January transfer window.

Ogbonna has reportedly been earmarked as an ideal replacement for United stalwart Ferdinand, as Ferguson begins to contemplate life without the 34-year-old centre-back.

Manchester United may, however, have contend with Liverpool in their pursuit of the 24-year-old Ogbonna, with reports last month claiming the Anfield club were favourites to sign the Torino star.

Liverpool, however, a more likely to focus on the recruitment of goalscoring reinforcements in January, which could leave Manchester United as the most likely destination for Ogbonna, who is valued at a reported £16 million.

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