Martin Hinteregger Reveals Manchester United Lead Liverpool in Transfer Race

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2013

RIED, AUSTRIA - MARCH 12:  Robert Zulj (L) of Ried and Martin Hinteregger (R) of Salzburg battle for the ball during the tipp3-Bundesliga powered by T-Mobile match between SV Josko Ried and FC Red Bull Salzburg at Keine Sorgen Arena on March 12, 2011 in Ried, Austria.  (Photo by Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty Images)
Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty Images

Manchester United and Liverpool have already faced off twice this season, but they might be heading for another battle in January after defender Martin Hinteregger revealed the champions want his services.

Hinteregger, of Red Bull Salzburg, has reportedly been a long-term target for Liverpool and Arsenal, but the player recently confirmed United have registered their interest.

Steve Goodman of the Daily Star provides the quotes:

There is interest in me from Manchester United and a top Italian club.

I am honoured. I hadn’t expected something like this to happen so soon.

I had always planned on staying a while with Salzburg and playing for Leipzig one day. But the interest from a top-level club has got me thinking.

Hinteregger was the subject of a report by Peter Guy for the Liverpool Echo last week, in which Juventus were named as the interested Italian outfit:

Capped four times at Under-21 level, the versatile defender has been monitored by Juventus in recent weeks.

However, the Serie A side will face a battle to land Hinteregger as Liverpool and Arsenal both have a long-standing interest in him.

According to the player, United lead their domestic rivals in the hunt for his signature. The centre-back was part of Salzburg’s 8-1 win on Sunday and is tipped for an international future with Austria.

United’s most pressing need for defensive reinforcement comes in the shape of a ball-playing centre-half, with Rio Ferdinand set to enter his 36th year.

Hinteregger, at 21 years of age, fits that mould. He is marginally over 6’0" in height and relies more on his ability to read the game than put his body on the line. Such qualities make him a suitable partner for the powerful figure of Nemanja Vidic.

David Moyes is expected to have £50 million to spend in January—per David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror—and has also been linked to Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala, according to Daniel Taylor of the Guardian.

In truth, it is questionable whether United or Liverpool would be the ideal choice for Hinteregger, who would find competition for places at both clubs.

United have Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones all capable of big futures at centre-back, while Liverpool added three new defenders during the summer window.

If Arsenal’s reported interest becomes concrete, that would seem the best destination for the player if he wants to be guaranteed first-team football, with Arsene Wenger extremely light on cover for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.