United monitor African starlet

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VITESSE ARNHEM starlet Mahamadou Diarra has come under the gaze of Manchester United, after a string of impressive displays at both domestic and international level.

The 20-year-old midfielder was one of the stars of the recent African Cup of Nations, in which he helped lead hosts Mali to the semi-final stage.

Journalists in France voted him one of players of the tournament and planetfootball sources can now reveal that United have been watching the young African.

Diarra moved to Vitesse in 1999 from Greek side OFI Crete and has been a prominent figure in the Eredivisie outfit's midfield ever since.

The Malian ace has also revealed his ambition to play in England, after United's interest came to light.

"England is the most beautiful competition in the whole of Europe." said Diarra.

"There, the better teams just want to play good football. The play with the ball on the ground and attack. Just like it has to be."

United are unlikely to make a firm offer in the near future, but they are sure to keep close tabs on Diarra who is contracted at The Gelredome until 2005.