Manchester United have made an enquiry for Liverpool contract rebel Raheem Sterling, Goal.com has learned.
Sir Alex Ferguson wants to take advantage of the teenager’s contract stand-off with the Merseysiders despite the delicate relationship between the two clubs.
United have put out informal feelers to make clear their interest in capturing the newly-capped England international.
Sterling, who turns 18 on Saturday, has stalled on signing his first major contract after breaking into the Liverpool team this season.
The youngster’s advisers are in negotiations with Anfield officials but Goal.com understands they have refused the offer that has been put on the table by the club.
Sterling’s camp have been irritated by manager Brendan Rodgers’ comment that the winger would be “very foolish” not to agree fresh terms with a club he joined from QPR at 14 and where he has been fast-tracked into the first team.
United are one of a number of leading clubs who are closely monitoring Sterling’s situation and could consider launching a bid in January if the stand-off is not resolved by then.
The winger is regarded by the Premier League leaders as a potential replacement for Nani, who has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford and is expected to be sold at the end of the season.
The Portuguese winger has entered the penultimate year of his contract and talks over a new deal have yet to be resolved.
Ferguson is also tracking Blackpool’s £5million-rated Tom Ince, the former Liverpool winger who is also being targeted for an Anfield return.
Ince left Anfield in the summer of 2011 on a two-year contract which expires at the end of the season, though the Seasiders have the option of activating a one-year extension on his current deal.