Ferguson eyes 20million Rodwell

Sir Alex Ferguson could be forced to step up his interest in Jack Rodwell - considering a move as soon as January for the Everton starlet.

The United manager is a long-term admirer of the England under-21 international but would have preferred to hold off making a move until at least the end of the season.

But with Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti likely to spend heavily in January - with the threat of a FIFA transfer ban hanging over Stamford Bridge - Ferguson could be forced to move sooner than he would have liked.

City are also monitoring the 20m-rated Rodwell, but have prioritised defensive improvements and it is Chelsea's interest that will be concerning United most.

The Londoners have had their two-window transfer ban suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the signing of Gael Kakuta - but the FIFA sanctions still hang over them.

As a result they may do much of their business in January, which could see them sign Rodwell in the New Year and loan him back to Everton until the end of the season.

Ferguson has suggested he will take the unusual step of spending in the January transfer window - provided the market is not as inflated as it was last summer.

He still has the majority of the 80m Real Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo to spend and knows his squad is in need of a boost after an ordinary start to the campaign.

Valencia's David Silva and David Villa remain high on his list of targets - but only if their price tags are significantly reduced to around a combined 40m.

Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko is another player he admires and would be a much cheaper option than Villa.

But Rodwell is his primary domestic target - and he hopes the stylish midfielder will be tempted to follow in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney by swapping Goodison Park for Old Trafford.

Everton know they are in a strong position with the 18-year-old having signed a new five-year contract in February - but they will find it difficult to reject any offer in the region of 20m.

City are also keeping a close eye on the teenager's situation and would love to get one over their Old Trafford rivals, with whom they are increasingly going head-to-head in the transfer market.

Both Ferguson and Mark Hughes are also confirmed admirers of Inter Milan full- back Maicon and are ready to battle it out for his signature if the Brazilian quits the San Siro.

Date Published: 17 November 2009