Moyes makes trip to Portugal on three-pronged scouting mission

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David Moyes may not have got too much right in his debut season as Manchester United boss, but he seems to have bettered an old cliché in killing three birds with one stone on a recent scouting mission.

The Scot, whose Red Devils are 2/1 to beat his former club Everton next time out, took a trip to Lisbon to watch the Taca de Portugal semi-final between old foes Porto and Benfica.

Dragoes pair Eliaquim Mangala and Jackson Martinez and on-loan Eagles man Guilherme Siqueira were the reason for Moyes’ trip as he tries to steal a march on numerous Premier League suitors where the former two are concerned.

Manchester City are known lovers of centre-back Mangala and with United now reliant on pure financial clout, rather than European football, Moyes’ decision to watch the Frenchman at close quarters indicates the Red Devils are looking to make a move too.

Nemanja Vidic’s impending departure to Inter Milan, along with Rio Ferdinand’s advancing years means the heart of defence is a key area for Moyes’ United revolution.

However, a reported hefty transfer kitty won’t be fully shelled out on Mangala, with prolific teammate Martinez also thought to be interesting the former Toffees boss.

Arsenal and Chelsea both have designs on signing the Colombian, who has 18 league goals to his name this season, but with Robin van Persie’s happiness at the club rumoured to be on the wane, United are eyeing Martinez as a supposed replacement.

A move for Granada-employed left-back, Siqueira, looks less likely for Moyes with Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao and Southampton’s Luke Shaw both higher up on the Scot’s shopping list.

However, having been burned by so many deals collapsing in his previous summer transfer window, the Red Devils tactician is thought to be covering his tracks by putting the Brazilian-born Italian on his backup list.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.