Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is seriously weighing up a move for Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo.

Having shelved his pursuit of Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder, Ferguson remains concerned over his midfield's cutting edge and had Montolivo scouted in action for Italy against Northern Ireland this week.

Ferguson is impressed by Montolivo's character, with the midfielder fighting back from being sacked as club captain over his refusal to sign a new contract to earn a place in Italy coach Cesare Prandelli's plans.

Fiorentina will sell Montolivo in January and the favourites remain AC Milan.

But United's sudden interest, which is being covered extensively in the Florence media this week, will have turned Montolivo's head.