Eliaquim Mangala
Eliaquim Mangala Reuters

Manchester United are preparing a bid to sign FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala in January, according to the Daily Mirror.

David Moyes was in attendance for Porto's Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon as the Portuguese side crashed out of the Champions League.

The report claims that Moyes sent scouts in the past to watch the centre-half and is looking at the 22-year-old with a view to strengthening United's ageing defence. Rio Ferdinand, 35,has over six months left on his current contract and it is unlikely that a new deal will be offered to the English defender at Old Trafford.

Nemanja Vidic, 32, has struggled with injuries since 2011. United's back-up defenders, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, have looked shaky leaving Moyes with no option but to look at some reliable replacements as the champions find themselves in the ninth spot in the league.

Mangala is known for his physical presence and no non-sense defence, which might be just what Moyes needs to strengthen his back four.

The report adds that £15m will be enough to land the Frenchman from the Portuguese club. The amount should not be a problem for Moyes as earlier reports suggested that the Glazers will hand a £80m transfer budget to bring in new faces in January.

According to the Daily Express, United are willing to offer Anderson back to Porto in a player plus cash deal in an attempt to convince the Portuguese club to send Mangala the other way.

Mangala made his first appearance for France earlier in the year in a 1-0 friendly defeat against Uruguay. He joined Belgian side Standard Liege in 2008 and moved to Porto in 2011.

The Frenchman is currently at the heart of Porto's defence alongside Nicolas Otamendi and played his part in helping the club complete a hat-trick of Portuguese league titles last season.

United were also linked to Atleticomidfielder Koke who was also in action recently, but the player signed a new contract that ties him to the Spanish side till 2018.