Manchester United step up pursuit of £36m 'new Cristiano Ronaldo'

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Manchester United are reportedly ramping up their pursuit of Colombian winger James Rodriguez, who has been dubbed the 'new Cristiano Ronaldo', after scouts watched him in action for Porto at the weekend.

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United representatives were in attendance at the Estádio do Dragão on Saturday as Porto defeated Rio Alve courtesy of a brace from Jackson Martinez, but Rodriguez was the player they had been assigned to monitor.

Manchester United are reported to be considering a formal approach for the 21-year-old, although the Premier League have been deterred by the £36 million release clause written into the player's contract with Porto.

Rodriguez has found the net eight times in 21 appearances for Porto this season and Manchester United may have to move for the youngster this summer or risk losing him to one of their rivals.

The apparent interest in Rodriguez could spell the end for Nani at Old Trafford, although Sir Alex Ferguson has maintained his desire to retain the services of the Portugal international.

Nani has a year remaining on his current deal with the club, but is reported to be requesting a significant salary increase - who has had his demands rejected by the club.

The 26-year-old, who joined Manchester United in 2007, is no longer a guaranteed starter at the club, with the likes of Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and summer arrival Wilfried Zaha battling for places.

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