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Manchester United have eyed Juventus FC defender Lilian Thuram and West Ham United goalkeeper David James, the Evening Standard reported.
Sir Alex Ferguson missed out on the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner last year when the defender moved from Parma to Juventus for J22 million. Now Serie A champions have opened the door for the United coach to finally get Thuram by returning to Parma with a J16 million bid for Fabio Cannavaro which has been accepted.
Manchester United are unlikely to pay more than J15 million for the 30-year-old player who earns J60,000-a-week.
Thuram started his professional career with Monaco in 1990 and spent 6 seasons with the French side before moving to Italy. In 1996 the French international joined Parma, winning the Italian Cup, Super Cup and UEFA Cup in 1999.
Thuram moved to Juventus in the 2000/2001 season, winning the Serie A title.
Ferguson knows the defence is in danger of becoming his team's Achilles heel. He has decided that Ronny Johnsen's injury record is too chequered to warrant a new contract, Denis Irwin has ended a glorious 12-year career at Old Trafford and Laurent Blanc is not yet certain whether he wishes to postpone retirement. The Red Devils are also interested in Greek right back Christos Patsatzoglou and are considering former Liverpool keeper James as a replacement for Fabien Barthez.
Chief executive Peter Kenyon said: 'The defence is the area we are looking to improve. In terms of how much money there will be to spend, that hasn't been decided."
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