Sir Alex Ferguson will make a personal check on Anderlecht's brilliant teenage centre-back Vincent Kompany as he looks for a potential replacement for Rio Ferdinand.
The Manchester United manager is going to see how the 17-year-old copes with the Celtic's Chris Sutton and John Hartson in the Champions' League game on Wednesday. The club have already made contact with the Belgian champions about signing Kompany in the transfer window in January.
Anderlecht want around £3m for the young defender, who is already in the Belgium squad and tipped as the best up-and-coming talent in Europe. Ferguson knows he may need a new defender with a ban looking likely for Ferdinand following a Football Association misconduct charge for failing to attend a drugs test last month.
Kompany has emerged as the leading option, impressing United scouts with his mature displays since breaking into the first team. The teenager has become an ever-present for the Belgian club and could fit into the United side because of his maturity, strength and ability.
Kompany could not play in the Champions' League because he is cup-tied, but United will probably have to sign a new man to rotate their defenders. Other names being mentioned include Middlesbrough's Gareth Southgate, but the ideal choice would be a young player who would not just be a stop-gap.
The FA is investigating comments by Ferguson suggesting that the ruling body made a deal with Arsenal over disciplinary measures which followed charges for the fracas in the League game at Old Trafford.
"We are looking very closely at the comments made by Alex Ferguson," an FA spokesman, Adrian Bevington, said yesterday. "No deals have been cut. We believe our disciplinary procedures are of the highest integrity."
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- Rio Ferdinand
- Sir Alex Ferguson