Cardiff City eye Tiago Ilori as Michael Keane alternative

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Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is ready to move for Liverpool flop Tiago Ilori if he fails to land Michael Keane from Manchester United.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Norwegian coach has set about strengthening his defensive ranks in south Wales before the close of the transfer window, after losing last season's Bluebirds skipper Steven Caulker to Queens Park Rangers.

The former Red Devils striker is hopeful that his old club will allow talented centre-back Keane to leave Old Trafford on loan for the season, but already has a plan B should Louis van Gaal deny the 21-year-old a temporary transfer.

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Portuguese youngster Ilori - also 21 - has struggled to make any kind of breakthrough at Anfield since signing for Liverpool in an £8 million deal last year.

Brendan Rodgers sent the 6ft 3in centre-back on loan to La Liga outfit Granada in January for the remainder of the 2013/14 campaign, and is eager for the player to ascertain regular football away from Merseyside again this season.

Championship football

Solskjaer would be able to offer Ilori that at the Cardiff City Stadium, as he bids to help the Championship club return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

The Bluebirds continue to be linked with a number of players as the transfer deadline fast approaches, but a central defender is now of utmost importance after Ben Turner was ruled out of action for a month with an ankle injury.

Solskjaer quotes:

"We have been having a lot of conversations with managers at big clubs about players they do not think are going to be in their squad this season, and could be interested in sending them out on loan," confirmed Solskjaer. "[But] we cannot confirm or deny until we sign someone.

"There has been loads said about players from Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea coming here on loan, but there is no-one here yet.

"I need one extra but I am not doing it just to have numbers, it must be the right player."

Keane remains first choice

Keane has previously enjoyed Championship loan spells with Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers and Derby County, but after impressing Van Gaal on Manchester United's pre-season tour of the United States could be a surprise inclusion in his first-team squad for the new campaign.

That would almost certainly prompt Cardiff to firm up their interest in Ilori, but they'll face competition for the Liverpool stopper from Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux as Willy Sagnol is also keen to bring the player to Stade Chaban-Delmas this season.

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