Liverpool and Manchester United are set to go head-to-head for the signing of Vasco Da Gama centre-half Dede, according to the Daily Mirror.

The Brazil defender could be sold at the end of the season as Vasco da Gama struggle with financial troubles, and a bid in the region of £15m may be enough to tempt him to the Premier League.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to sign two centre-backs in the summer, and has made Dede his top priority.

The 24-year-old is set to be the defender Luiz Felipe Scolari builds his 2014 World Cup team around, and his impressive performances in the Brazilian top flight have prompted plenty of interest from Europe.

Manchester United, Juventus and Benfica are all thought to be interested, while Liverpool believe they've got a head start on their rivals by building a relationship with the player's third-party ownership - an investment group that controls 55 per cent of the defender's value.

The young international is Vasco da Gama's prize asset, but the Brazilian club are mired in financial difficulties. The Rio-based team are being chased up by tax authorities over unpaid debts, and they have conceded that their best players may have to be sold in the summer.

Vasco director general Cristiano Koehler said earlier this week: "We can't mislead the fans, we will find it very difficult to hold on to Dede because the club needs the resources, and at some point it will happen - by the middle of the year.

"The desire of all is that he stays, but we have to prioritise the payment of wages, taxes and federal agreements, so it is inevitable we will have to sell - so it is possible, in the middle of the year when the sale goes through, we can use the money to restructure the club and make it safe.

"They player is ambitious and he also wants to experience better opportunities with better pay, and the partners in his ownership want to make the agreement now to develop their investment.

"We have a balance sheet we must meet, and we can't hide the fact."

Liverpool have watched the defender for the past 12 months, and in Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho, have two Brazilians in their first-team squad already.

Brazil international Anderson, and twins Fabio and Rafael da Silva could help convince Dede to join Manchester United, but the Vasco defender may feel he's got a better opportunity for first-team football at Anfield rather than Old Trafford, especially as Jamie Carragher is set to retire at the end of the season.

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