Premier League leaders Manchester United are preparing a £20m move to sign Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala at the end of the season, according to the Daily Star.

Eliaquim Mangala

The report claims the 22-year-old is considered as an ideal replacement for United veteran Rio Ferdinand. The England international is likely to be offered a one-year contract in the summer but with the centre-back turning 35 this year, Sir Alex Ferguson could move for a suitable player to fill in his shoes, for the long term.

The Scot currently has Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones for the central defender role. However, the Serb being out of action for the most part of last two seasons has been a matter of concern for the Red Devils' manager.

United are likely to offer Brazilian international Anderson to Porto, as a part of swap deal to bring Mangala to Old Trafford in the summer. The midfielder has made no secret of his desire to rejoin his former employers.

"I can say that Porto are the only club where I could think of going if I returned to Portugal. My past is there, and that is where my roots are," Anderson said.

Mangala has been in impressive form for the Portuguese club and has scored two goals in the league this season. The French footballer recently said he was flattered to be linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur or United, and claimed that he could consider a transfer in the summer.

"I have a contract here till June 2016, however all players want to play one day in the top league in Europe. To be linked with clubs of the stature of Tottenham or Manchester United is the best feeling. I want to finish the season strongly and see at the end of the season if the reports are true," Mangala explained.

The Premier League leaders are likely to face competition to land Mangala in the summer, as the Daily Star claims their archrivals Manchester City and AC Milan are also interested in his services.