Press Watch: Man Utd look to spend in January

Manchester United's targets during the January transfer window are to include an audacious bid to take Anelka from neighbours City
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The Independent Football

Stand by for a Manchester United spending spree in the January transfer window - and perhaps one unexpected and spectacular coup. The Mail on Sunday reckons United are prepared to pay £12.5m to Marseilles for the Belgian defender Daniel van Buyten, but the real sensation could come with a swoop for Manchester City's top scorer, Nicolas Anelka.

The former Arsenal striker is said by the Mirror to be United's top target if they fail to land Andrei Shevchenko from Milan, for whom the paper says Sir Alex Ferguson offered £10m plus David Beckham last summer. The Mirror reckons Anelka may be tempted, too, after expressing doubt about City's ability to become a top-four side.

The Mirror also links United with an £8m deal for Sao Paulo's Brazil international striker Luis Fabiano, while the People says City could spring a surprise of their own by offering Liverpool £4m for goalkeeper Chris Kirkland after manager Kevin Keegan concluded that David Seaman's days in the top flight may be numbered.

David O'Leary's insistence that he has only limited funds to reinforce his Aston Villa squad has not stopped the News of the World speculating that Villa might be the destination for Mark Viduka after the striker's latest series of rows with the Leeds management. It is hard to see Villa affording the Australian's £65,000-a-week wages, however.

There seems more chance, then, of the People being right to link Viduka with big-spending Middlesbrough, who need to replace the injured Malcolm Christie with a proven goalscorer and will not be put off by high salary demands.

There could be another much needed influx of cash into Elland Road as the People reports that a wealthy Arab fan is willing to put £10m into the club and wants Southampton's Gordon Strachan as manager when Peter Reid is given the push.

The News of the World says Newcastle have offered out-of-favour Nolberto Solano in a swap deal aimed at taking Tottenham full-back Stephen Carr to Tyneside, although the People reckons Sir Bobby Robson is close to reaching an agreement to pay £2m for the Republic of Ireland defender.

Despite Claudio Ranieri's insistence in other papers that he does not need to add to his squad, the Mirror still says Chelsea are watching Michael Owen's position at Liverpool with interest. The News of the World says Spain is a more likely destination for the England striker, suggesting that Barcelona will offer £30m to trump a £25m bid from Real Madrid.

Everton are watching the Wigan midfielder Jimmy Bullard, according to the People, although the same paper speculates that manager David Moyes could be tempted by interest from Tottenham after becoming frustrated by a lack of money at Goodison.

The People also reckons the Crystal Palace chairman, Simon Jordan, has earmarked Plymouth's Paul Sturrock to replace the sacked Steve Kember.

Sunderland's manager, Mick McCarthy, is planning to make an offer to the Norwegian club Tromso to bring their gigantic Hungarian striker Robert Kovacs to the Stadium of Light, according to the People.

The News of the World, however, says McCarthy wants to improve an £800,000 offer for Huddersfield's highly rated Jon Stead.

Tony Adams, fresh from a winning start as Wycombe manager, tells the News of the World that he would be prepared to give Paul Gascoigne a chance should his trial at Wolves come to nothing.