Davide Astori
Davide Astori [Reuters]

Manchester United have been handed a major boost in signing Davide Astori after Cagliari defender expressed his desire to play in the Premier League.

The Italy international was linked with a move to Old Trafford. United manager David Moyes personally scouted the 27-year-old in January, while his side were in action against Juventus in January.

Astori has made 22 starts in the Serie A this season and has been an integral player in the heart of Cagliari's defence.

"I am very attracted to the Premier League. It's a beautiful league with many great teams. I would like to play there certainly," the Metro quoted Astori as saying.

The Italian side's president Massimo Cellino has also admitted that Astori could Cagliari. The president claims being the club' chief, he will be unable to protect his players.

"If tomorrow I was asked about Astori or others, I would let them go. I cannot protect my boys and so I could give them all away, as was the case for Nainggolan," Cellino explained.

United currently have the services of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the central defending position. However, the Serbian has confirmed that he will leave Old Trafford after the end of his contract in the summer.

Ferdinand's current deal will expire at the end of the season and Moyes is unlikely to hand the former England international an extension. The 50-year-old manager needs to bring in replacements to fill in the void left by the two senior centre-backs in the squad.

A move for Astori would see him likely take the place of Vidic in United's back for next season, should United manage to land him in the summer.

Meanwhile, United coach Phil Neville has heaped praise on Adnan Januzaj after his brilliant display in the Red Devils' below-par performance this season.

"Everyone knew we had a special talent on our hands. But the real test comes when you play at Old Trafford. So that was the question back in pre-season: has he got the temperament to play for Manchester United at Old Trafford? Well, I think he's answered that," Neville told United's official website.