Fabio Coentrao
Fabio Coentrao Reuters

Italian giants Milan have reportedly joined the race to sign Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao, who has been heavily linked with Manchester United since last summer.

The Portuguese international was close to joining David Moyes' side in the summer transfer window but Real Madrid blocked the deal in the final hours as the Spanish giants failed to sign a replacement.

According to reports in Italy the Premier League champions will have to fight with Milan to sign the player this January as new Milan coach Clarence Seedorf has asked his club to strengthen his squad with the Portuguese defender.

Mediaset claim that Milan CEO Adriano Galliani has recently phoned his old friend Carlo Ancelotti to convince him to let Coentrao go to Italy and although the Real Madrid manager was not convinced by Galliani's request the Rossoneri have not give up and they will make a new attempt to sign the player before the transfer window closes.

Moyes is desperately trying to add a left-back to the squad whether it is this January or in the summer transfer market as Patrice Evra is in the final six months of his contract and is unlikely to sign an extension.

With Fabio da Silva having left the club for Cardiff and with Alexander Buttner failing to prove himself as a consistent replacement for Evra during his first 18 months of the club, Coentrao remains one of Moyes's main targets – especially given Leighton Baines' recent decision to sign a new deal with Everton and Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino insisting Luke Shaw will not be sold.

Coentrao is understood to be the most affordable United target as he may very well push for a move away from Spain in order to get more first team opportunities and improve his chances of being named in Portugal's World Cup squad.

The Portuguese international has been out of action for the past two months due to injury and despite his return to fitness, Ancelotti has opted to use Marcelo ahead of him.