United 'on alert' as £7m defender stalls on Chelsea deal

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Manchester United have reportedly joined the race to sign Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill, despite Chelsea having a bid accepted for the player.

The Trotters have all-but given up hope of keeping the England international at the Reebok Stadium, and Owen Coyle admitted last week that the club had allowed the player to negotiate personal terms with the Blues.

However, an in-ability to meet the player's wage demands has put the reported £7 million move to Stamford Bridge in doubt, with The Evening Standard claiming last night that Cahill is having second thoughts over the Chelsea switch.

And now The Sun is claiming Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to join the race for the 27-year-old centre back.

With club captain Nemanja Vidic out for the season and the Red Devils continuing to show cracks in the line-up, the Scottish boss could be persuaded to turn to the transfer market in an effort to stem the tide at Old Trafford and maintain their title bid.

Ferguson insisted in December that signings were unlikely to occur in 2012, with the manager showing complete faith in his Manchester United players despite a string of injury problems - particularly in defence.

However, last night's poor showing (a 3-0 defeat to Newcastle) could have influenced his thinking, with Cahill readily available for both domestic and European action at a relatively cheap fee given his contract situation in Lancashire.

Manchester United will have to move fast if they want to lure the player to the club though, with Coyle hoping the player's situation is resolved relatively quickly.

As for Chelsea, manager Andre Villas-Boas appears to have a decision on his hands as the two parties struggle to find a happy medium.

With Alex set to leave west London later in the month, 'AVB' is determined to add defensive reinforcements to his side, and had highlighted John Terry's international colleague as his top target for the New Year.

But, with reports that there is a sizable difference between what the club hopes to offer and the £100,000 wanted by Cahill, Chelsea will have to cough-up more cash or look elsewhere.

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