Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is lining up a shock raid for Chelsea fullback Ashley Cole. The Daily Mail says Fergie wants Cole at Old Trafford and is planning to take advantage as European champions Chelsea stall over a new deal for the world's best left back.

His interest in Cole will add another dimension to United's trip to Stamford Bridge for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash.

Ferguson is a huge admirer of Cole, 31, and has reminded his coaching staff that he is one of the few players in world football to have got the upper hand on Cristiano Ronaldo.

During Ronaldo's time at Old Trafford, Cole would show him an imaginary pocket during matches to demonstrate his influence over the Portugal winger.

Out of contract at the end of the season, Cole is also best friends with United striker Wayne Rooney.