Man Utd see Standard Liege's Witsel as Hargreaves replacement

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is planning a January swoop for Standard Liege midfielder Axel Witsel.

The Daily Mail says the United manager has been alerted to growing interest in Witsel and may now join the bidding for him after studying a report on another impressive performance in Standard Liege's 1-0 win over Sevilla last Thursday.

After driving a hard bargain with Everton over Marouane Fellaini, and only relenting when the deadline-day bidding reached £15m, Standard's board are in no mood to let their latest midfield prodigy leave on the cheap.

That will not necessarily deter United, though, should Ferguson see Witsel as a ready-made replacement for Owen Hargreaves, whose Old Trafford future appears to be shrouded in uncertainty.

Witsel is described as a powerful box-to-box midfielder who started out as an anchor man but is now allowed the freedom to push forward and support his team's strikers.

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