United weigh costs for Di Canio or Forlan

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The Independent Football

Manchester United are working out the cost of replacing Andy Cole – with either the Uruguayan prospect Diego Forlan or the veteran Italian Paolo Di Canio, of West Ham.

The United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has been told he can get the money from Cole's sale – plus a little more – to find an extra striker for the push for honours in the New Year. Forlan is the new name on United's shopping list, while old foe Di Canio still has a place in Ferguson's heart.

Now the manager and his money men are working out the cost and future value in either a 22-year-old or a 33-year-old. United have been quoted just over £6m for Forlan by his Argentinian club Independiente, where he has scored 11 goals this season.

Weekend meetings between United and agents working for Independiente explored the possibility of the fee coming down because of financial troubles in Argentina. United would prefer to keep costs low on Forlan and are playing one against the other between him and Independiente, and Di Canio and West Ham.

Forlan will settle for lower wages than Di Canio, possibly half the money, reducing the difference in total cost. Forlan also has a sell-on value, Di Canio will have none because of his age, which will appeal to the plc board which prefers not to pay fees or offer deals to players past 30.

United may make opening bids for Forlan and Di Canio in the next 48 hours. They are likely to put £5m plus instalments on the table for Forlan and offer around £2m for Di Canio.

Michael Owen and three other English-based players have been included in L'Equipe's season-ending 'World XI'. Owen, named earlier this month as European Footballer of the Year, and the Arsenal striker Thierry Henry beat off the challenge of Real Madrid's Raul and Milan's Andrei Shevchenko to be named the strikers. Sami Hyypia, of Liverpool, was named in defence while Arsenal's Patrick Vieira claimed a place in midfield.

Fifa's World Footballer of the year, Luis Figo, failed to make the starting line-up for midfielders.

L'EQUIPE WORLD TEAM OF THE YEAR 2001: Goalkeeper: Kahn (Bayern Munich). Defenders: Cafu (Roma), Lucio (Bayer Leverkusen), Hyypia (Liverpool), Lizarazu (Bayern Munich). Midfielders: Totti (Roma), Vieira (Arsenal), Helguera (Real Madrid), Zidane (Real Madrid). Strikers: Owen (Liverpool), Henry (Arsenal).

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