Manchester United consider former Chelsea midfielder to replace Paul Scholes

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Manchester United have reportedly made an initial approach to gauge the availability of Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic in the summer transfer window.

According to The Observer, Manchester United scouts have alerted Sir Alex Ferguson to the talents of the Serbian, who has flourished in Lisbon since joining Benfica from Chelsea in the January transfer window of 2011.

Matic was used by Chelsea as a makeweight in the deal which saw David Luiz arrive at Stamford Bridge and, it would appear, the 24-year-old may be offered a route back to the Premier League by Manchester United.

Manchester United may, however, may reportedly find the price tag placed on the Serbia international prohibitive, although the recruitment of a central midfielder remains a summer proirity for Ferguson.

Paul Scholes is giving renewed thought to retiring again at the end of the season, with his Manchester United contract set to expire, and Matic could yet be the player to replace him at Old Trafford.

Matic has drawn praise for his performances in the Europa League this season, with Alan Pardew particularly impressed by his ball retention as Benfica knocked Newcastle out of the competition.

"The way they kept the ball was fantastic, but Matic in particular," Pardew told reporters following the encounter at St James' Park. "The way he has grown since he has gone away from Chelsea … he's a terrific player for them."

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