Manchester United will have to splash £26 million in order to land Lazio wonderkid Keita Balde Diao, who is also a target for AC Milan.

The Sun have claimed that Manchester United are interested in Lazio wonderkid Keita Balde Diao. The 21-year-old forward has been heavily linked with a move to AC Milan but it seems United and Jose Mourinho could attempt to prise the player away from Serie A to the Premier League.

Keita Balde Diao is a Senegalese international who has come up through the ranks at the famous La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy, before moving to Lazio for a paltry fee of around €300,000 in July 2011.

The player is a versatile forward and can be deployed on either wing as well as as an out-and-out forward. But he prefers to play on the left side.

The 21-year-old has been truly on fire this season for Lazio. Keita has recorded a return of 5 goals and 3 assists in 16 Serie A games this season. The forward has also returned very decent figures in his Lazio career, with 20 goals and 24 assists in 119 appearances for his current employers.

All roads pointing towards a Lazio exit soon? (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)
All roads pointing towards a Lazio exit soon? (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

The player has been linked with high-flying AC Milan as Vincenzo Montella aims to firm up his options, with the Rossoneri mounting a title challenge after several seasons.

But, of late, reports from Italy have said that AC Milan have resigned for defeat in the transfer battle in January and are eyeing a summer move for Keita Balde, who looks like an asset that Lazio are unlikely to dispense in the midst of the season.

But, despite all of this, the Sun report that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is preparing to test Lazio’s resolve with a bid in January for the 21-year-old. The report, though, iterates that it is thought that a bid of atleast £26 million might be necessary to persuade Lazio.

Keita only has 1 and a half years left on his current deal at Lazio and owner Claudio Lotito is likely to sell the player for a large fee.

Thus, the 21-year-old may be heading to the Old Trafford if Manchester United are willing to stump up the cash to land the forward. United, though, currently have no dearth of talent in the forward positions and unless some of the fringe players leave the squad, a January move for Keita seems unlikely.

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