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Man Utd boss Ferguson to make surprise offer for Man City playmaker Ireland

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is planning a shock move for Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland.

The Sunday Mirror says Ireland has asked for a transfer after a disappointing campaign under Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini.

United have been monitoring the Irishman's rise through the ranks at Eastlands, but 12 months ago it was unthinkable that the 23-year-old midfielder who City fans call Superman would be allowed to leave the club.

City are ready to allow Ireland to leave now they have recruited David Silva, who is also being earmarked for a central role by Mancini despite playing mostly as a winger for Valencia and Spain.

But the Blues will be loath to sell Ireland to their rivals - unless United pay a premium on a player they would value at about £12m if he was moving to any other club.

Liverpool and Everton would both be interested but are even more strapped for transfer cash than United.

 Need your Manchester United news fix? Click here for all United news and transfer rumours.

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