United eyeing up Brazilian ace

Red Devils thought to be lining up move for striker Nilmar

Nilmar: Attracting attention

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Manchester United are reported to have stepped up their interest in Villarreal striker Nilmar.

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The Brazil international has scored nine goals in 15 Primera Liga games this season, helping Villarreal into third place behind Barcelona and Real Madrid.

United scouts have been present at three games in recent weeks and Sir Alex Ferguson is rumoured to be lining up a move for the 26-year-old at the end of the season.

Nilmar, who has scored nine goals in 23 international appearances, is contracted to Villarreal until June 2014 and is valued at 25million euros (£21m).

Sources at Villarreal have recognised the presence of many English scouts but club president Fernando Roig insists there has been no direct contact with the club's board.

No offers yet

"We have still not received any formal offers," he said.

"We are calm and the interest is normal because Villarreal look to be developing a big season."

Nilmar is also thought to be on the radar of a string of Italian clubs although the former Internacional and Lyon striker is focused on maintaining his fine form with Villarreal.

"My mission is to play and to score goals," he said.

"I do not enter into this speculation although I am flattered by the rumours because it is a sign that I am reaching a good level on the pitch."