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United send scouts to Italy to monitor strike duo

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United had scouts at Inter's convincing win over Palermo on Sunday, and reports suggest they were watching two Argentine strikers.

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After years and years of troubles in midfield, Manchester United are now in the odd position of having sufficient depth in the centre of the park and issues just about everywhere else. David de Gea's potential departure means we need a potential new goalkeeper (unless he moves imminently, in which case Victor Valdés should be fine); save for Marcos Rojo and perhaps Phil Jones, United are still questionable at the centre of defence; and while the jury is still out on Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie isn't a long-term option and Our Glorious Captain Wayne Rooney is, with the odd exception, rubbish.

Thus, it looks like another summer of heavy spending is going to be required to transform United back into a genuine continental force. At least some of that spending, whether it's eventually on Falcao or otherwise, will likely go on strengthening United's options up top. If reports in Italy are to be believed, United are looking longer-term than the 29-year-old Colombian.

According to transfer don Gianluca Di Marzio (who is probably the most reliable transfer journalist around), the Reds had scouts at Inter Milan's 3-0 win over Palermo on Sunday; the targets ostensibly being 21-year-old Argentine forward Mauro Icardi of Inter (who scored a brace), and 21-year-old Argentine forward Paulo Dybala of Palermo (who didn't). This report is exciting for a couple of reasons: the first is that it's from Di Marzio; the second is that these are two very hot young prospects -- two of the best on the planet at present.

Though it's Dybala who has generally earned the plaudits for his eye-catching performances over the first half of the Serie A season, it's Icardi who has been more consistently impressive since moving to Italy a few years ago. He's a bigger, more physical striker, and has netted a combined total of 32 Serie A goals in 75 appearances. Considering how young he still is, that's no mean feat. (If anyone cares to read more, I wrote this about him for SB Nation last season.) If you could choose either to pick up and plonk into the Premier League this minute, Icardi's strength would probably make him more useful. (Also of note: Chelsea are said to have made contact with his 'entourage'.)

That isn't to say he's better than Dybala per se, but both players have their pros and cons. Watch this space.