Former Arsenal star Robert Pires has backed AS Monaco's Fabinho to complete a switch to Manchester United in the January transfer window.

The 24-year-old played a key role in Leonardo Jardim's side last season as the French outfit went on to win Ligue 1 for the first time since 2000. He started as a right-back, but was later played in a defensive midfield position last term.

Fabinho's form had been vital in their winning campaign in the 2016/17 season. The Brazil international has continued to impress this season, starting in 14 matches in all competitions so far.

Earlier in the summer, IBTimes UK confirmed interest from United and their league rivals Manchester City in signing Fabinho. However, the deal did not take shape and he remained with the French champions.

Now, Pires believes the versatile Monaco star could attract interest from United again. However, City's situation may have changed.

Pep Guardiola's team already has the services of his compatriot Fernandinho, who plays in the same position and seems to be a vital cog for the Citizens. For the same reason, the former Gunners winger believes a move to the Etihad for Fabinho seems difficult.

"I think this could happen in January, or next summer," Pires told Bwin, when asked if the Red Devils could sign Fabinho in January.

"Manchester City could also be interested but they've got Fernandinho at the moment, who is playing very well," he added.

Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev also confirmed interest from United and City in signing the former Real Madrid flop. He also stressed that it would be difficult for the club to retain a player like Fabinho and has not ruled out a move away from Stade Louis II in January.

"He's one of the key players in our squad, a very regular player. He's very important, we can always count on him. We are very happy that we managed to keep him. I think this is one player you want to keep forever," Vasilyev told Sky Sports.

"But we realise in Monaco we have a certain model, that at a certain moment, when we feel it's right, we have to let players go in order to be successful again. This is not only about money; this is more about being successful.

"Yes, that's the idea [Fabinho expected to stay in January], of course. You never want to make any major changes in January, except something really extraordinary."

Fabinho has attracted interest from Manchester United and Manchester City Getty