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Man Utd battle Tottenham for £12M Portsmouth star Diarra

Manchester United are ready to battle Tottenham for Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra.

The People says new Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will face fierce competition from Manchester United for the tough-tackling Diarra, who can play across midfield and at rightback.

Old Trafford boss Ferguson failed in a £12m move on deadline day last August but the 23-year-old is his No.1 target in January.

United's interest raises questions about the long-term future of Owen Hargreaves, who is battling tendonitis of the knee.

It is believed a £12m bid would tempt Pompey to sell Diarra but Redknapp and Ferguson will have competition from Mark Hughes, who also has the midfielder on his Manchester City wish-list.

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