By Duncan Castles
Manchester United boss David Moyes has stepped up his attempt to recruit Inter midfielder Fredy Guarin by sending representatives to Italy to discuss a potential January transfer to Old Trafford.
The Serie A side are open to selling the Colombia international, who would come with the advantage of being eligible for the last 16 of the Champions League.
Capable of playing as a holding, box-to-box or attacking midfielder, Guarin would offer Moyes tactical options in an area that has proved particularly problematic during a troubled initiation as United boss.
With his new team languishing 13 points and eight places behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, the Scot is pushing United's board on a mid-season squad restructure.
Inter are floating a fee of around £15 million (€17.8m) for Guarin, who was part of Porto's undefeated treble-winning side under Andre Villas-Boas before moving to Italy on loan in the 2012 winter window in what became an €11m permanent transfer the following summer.
This close-season, Tottenham looked at bringing the 27-year-old to White Hart Lane, with the north Londoners failed with a £15.3m (€18m) bid prior to reinforcing their midfield with Paulinho and Etienne Capoue instead.
United have a large reserve available for transfers, having worked unsuccessfully to sign either Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale during the summer.
Moyes, though, is under a degree of pressure to recruit well, having already pushed the club to overspend on Marouane Fellaini on his first deadline day at the club.
Guarin's contract at Inter runs until 2016. His agent recently declined to comment publicly on United's efforts to sign except to state that "David Moyes appreciates him".