Benfica left-back Fabio Coentrao is on Manchester United's radar.

The Daily Mail says United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has stepped up his pursuit of Portugal left-back Coentrao after learning that Benfica have already launched the search for his replacement.

Ferguson is understood to have followed up his interest by contacting Benfica's board and asking to be kept informed of developments.

He can expect a call back before long, after it emerged that Benfica are currently running the rule over two left-backs, Taye Taiwo at Marseille and FC Copenhagen's Oscar Wendt.

United will face stern competition from Real Madrid, who have also sounded out Benfica about their World Cup left-back and are ready to match any offer from Old Trafford.

 It's all kicking off again! Click here for the No1 coverage of Manchester United's winter market transfer news.