Premier League champions Manchester United are considering a move to sign Cagliari defender Davide Astori, according to the Express. The Italy international has been one of the standout players for the Serie A outfit making 31 league appearances last season.
The report claims United manager David Moyes is looking to strengthen his back four, which has been vulnerable during the early part of the last season. Liverpool and Southampton have been constantly monitoring Astori for a while, but failed to land him during the January transfer window.
However, both the clubs have now cooled down their interest in making an approach for Astori. Brendan Rodgers signed Kolo Toure on a free transfer from Manchester City while the Mauricio Pochettino managed to land Dejan Lovren from Lyon.
The Old Trafford club are also linked with a move to sign Benfica star Ezequiel Garay and Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia. However, the latter has also been on the north London clubs' radar as both Arsenal and Tottenham are also keen on his signature.
Any failure from the English champions to land either of the two could then see Moyes turn his attention in signing the 26-year-old centre-back. The Express claims Astori is believed to be available for a fee around £10m.
However, United are likely to face competition from Cagliari's league rivals AC Milan and Napoli, who are also interested in the defender's signature. Despite the interest from Italy and abroad, Cagliari's sporting director Francesco Marroccu revealed that the club are in no mood to let their star player leave this summer.
"Davide Astori is a point of reference for the future. He is a player that we would not consider selling. Cagliari will start again from him. He represents us on the world stage and he is a certainty for us," Marroccu told Sky Sports.
"And we have not forgotten when he rejected a move to Spartak Moscow last year in order to remain here. That gesture made us proud," Cagliari sporting director added.
Marroccu's comments were echoed by Cagliari's president Massimo Cellino, who confirmed that Astori is not for sale.
"I am fed up with nurturing players and then selling them. I think that no important players will be sold and would prefer to see the team reinforced," Cellino stressed.