£10m Chelsea starlet target in shock United link

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Chelsea starlet target Kevin de Bruyne is being linked with a shock move to Manchester United.

Reports in Belgium claim Sir Alex Ferguson has sent scouts to check on the 20-year-old's progress with Genk in recent weeks, and will again be keeping a close eye on the player on Champions League duty against the Blues.

Andre Villas-Boas has long been seen as the favourite to take De Bruyne away from the Cristal Arena, with the Chelsea boss admitting a fortnight ago that he was interested in bringing the youngster to west London.

"He's exceptionally gifted technically and reminds me of the old technical Belgian players like Enzo Scifo," said the Chelsea boss.

"We've not only scouted him but we've scouted numerous different players before. It doesn't mean that all of them we scout will eventually join us.''

Genk boss Mario Been is well aware of the interest, and was forced to admit that a move to Stamford Bridge wouldn't be a complete surprise.

"Chelsea look and want to buy all the big talents so, for me, it wouldn't be a surprise if Kevin went to Chelsea," he said.

"Everyone's got his price.''

However, Manchester United are now claimed to have joined the race for the £10 million-rated player, with the Red Devils eager to add to their growing crop of youngsters at Old Trafford.

David de Gea and Phil Jones were drafted in during the summer transfer window, whilst Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck have also stated their case as Manchester United regulars this term.

The retirement of Paul Scholes was an issue many predicted Ferguson would look to address in the transfer market before the season began, but after failing in a reported pursuit of Wesley Sneijder, the Manchester United chief may be looking elsewhere in January.

De Bruyne, who is being tipped for the top after impressing domestically in the Pro League, would represent a younger, not to mention cheaper option for the Scot, although his lack of experience at the highest level makes him a gamble for the Manchester United hierarchy.

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