Manchester United set to fight Liverpool in battle to sign striker Ings
Premier League giants both want Burnley man
Manchester United are ready to plunge Liverpool's summer transfer plans into disarray by attempting to persuade Burnley forward Danny Ings to reject a move to Anfield in favour of Old Trafford.
United manager Louis van Gaal, who is confident of thwarting Liverpool's efforts to lure Memphis Depay to the Premier League by securing a £20m deal for the PSV Eindhoven winger, has instructed executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to pursue a move for Ings after being impressed by the 23-year-old during Burnley's 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in February.
Liverpool are understood to have made solid progress in their attempts to sign Ings, but with United now in a strong position to qualify for the Champions League, almost certainly at Liverpool's expense, the club believe they can convince him to move to Manchester.
With his Turf Moor contract due to expire in June, Ings has made it clear to Burnley that he will seek a move as a free agent this summer, but the Lancashire club are likely to receive around £5m in compensation and development fees due to the player still being under the age of 24.
David Moyes, the Real Sociedad manager, has made strenuous attempts to lure Ings (above) - a move which would drastically cut Burnley's compensation entitlement to around £200,000 - and the forward has given serious consideration to playing in Spain. But while Liverpool have made no secret of their interest, United have now entered the race to sign Ings and Manchester City also retain an interest.
Van Gaal is set to offload Javier Hernandez, currently on loan at Real Madrid, this summer, at the same time as turning down the option of a permanent move for Colombian forward Radamel Falcao, whose season-long loan from AS Monaco expires next month.
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With teenage forward James Wilson potentially being loaned out next season, Van Gaal would be left with just Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie as attacking options, hence the desire to sign Depay and Ings.
Van Persie, 31, who is expected to return to the United squad at Chelsea today, after an ankle injury, enters the final year of his Old Trafford contract this summer. Fenerbahce retain a long-standing interest in him.
Meanwhile, Falcao could be given a final chance to prove he deserves to stay at United as Rooney is expected to drop back into midfield against Chelsea.
Van Gaal says Daley Blind and Michael Carrick are injured and suggested he will have to ask Rooney to sacrifice himself for the team.
With Phil Jones and Marcos Roja also struggling and Jonny Evans suspended, United's defensive options are limited. Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett are likely to deputise at the back, but the main beneficiary may well be Falcao. (© Daily Telegraph, London)