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Fergie monitoring Lewandowski form ahead of potential £20m bid

MANCHESTER UNITED manager Alex Ferguson and assistant Mike Phelan will be at the Etihad Stadium tonight to see Robert Lewandowski in action against Manchester City as they consider launching a £20m bid for the Borussia Dortmund forward.

United have been known to be interested in Poland international Lewandowski for some time, with Dortmund reportedly already having rejected an approach from the Old Trafford club during the summer.

Chelsea are also weighing up the possibility of making a bid for the 24-year-old, who has told Dortmund that he will not sign an extension to his contract at the club, which expires in June 2014.

United capitalised on Shinji Kagawa's diminishing contract at Dortmund this summer by striking a £17m deal for the Japanese midfielder, whose deal had entered its final 12 months.

And with Dortmund adopting a business model which prevents them paying excessive wages, cashing in on Lewandowski next summer rather than lose him as a free agent in 2014 is the preferred option.

United have emerged as front-runners to sign the Pole, however, due to the growing doubts over Nani and Javier Hernández.

Nani has yet to agree terms on a new contract at the club and, although there is a willingness on both sides to negotiate a new deal, the Portuguese winger's form this season has done little to accelerate United's attempts to secure his services beyond his contract, which expires in June 2014.

Zenit St Petersburg had been keen to sign the former Sporting Lisbon player in August, but the Russian club were unable to force through a deal prior to the transfer deadline.

And while Hernández signed a five-year contract at Old Trafford last October, the Mexican forward has struggled for form since scoring 20 goals in his debut season.

Hernández has subsequently slipped to fourth choice striker, behind Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, and another disappointing campaign could trigger his departure from the club.

Although Lewandowski operates as a central striker for Dortmund, he has regularly performed as a wide player in a 4-3-3 formation for Poland and his versatility would enable him to fit into Ferguson's desire for his players to possess the flexibility to perform in more than one role.

After being rested by Dortmund for Saturday's 5-0 Bundesliga victory against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Lewandowski, who scored the only goal of the game in last month's 1-0 Group D victory against Ajax, is expected to be restored to the starting line-up by coach Jürgen Klopp against City.