Forlan may replace Cole

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The Independent Football

Manchester United are making a £6m bid for the Uruguayan international, Diego Forlan, to replace Andy Cole. The United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has made an official approach for the 22-year-old striker, who plays for the Argentinian side Independiente. The club's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, met the middle men Pini Zahavi and Ronan Katzev last night.

United are close to Zahavi, the Israeli who was part of the deal to sign Juan Sebastian Veron. Lazio are also in the hunt, but United look favourites.

Forlan, who has scored 11 times in the Argentinian league this season, has impressed United's scouts and the club have been checking that he has a European passport, having been informed that he is of Italian background. If he signs by the end of January he will be eligible for the Champions' League.

Forlan is a younger alternative to West Ham's Paolo Di Canio, the subject of United interest for months. At 33, Di Canio's age is against him, along with a projected £3m fee. He is, however, eligible for the Champions' League, making him a possibility if Forlan proves too dear.