Manchester United and City battle for Nathaniel Clyne

Mancini ready to irk Fergie again by moving for Palace defender Clyne

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UPDATED:

22:31 GMT, 23 March 2012

Roberto Mancini will go head to head with Sir Alex Ferguson to sign England Under 21 defender Nathaniel Clyne.

Manchester United have expressed firm interest in the highly-rated Crystal Palace right back but their city rivals are preparing a move of their own.

United front: Nathanial Clyne could be heading north to Old Trafford or the Etihad

United front: Nathanial Clyne could be heading north to Old Trafford or the Etihad

The Etihad Stadium club have watched
Clyne, 20, closely over the last few months and continue to monitor his
progress with a view to a summer move.

City believe they have the edge over
United in the chase because Clyne has the same advisers as their England
defender Micah Richards.

United officials have made concrete
moves regarding their interest in Clyne and it is looking increasingly
likely he will leave Selhurst Park at the end of the season.

Red alert: Clyne part the side which dumped United out of the Carling Cup

Red alert: Clyne part the side which dumped United out of the Carling Cup

Clyne becomes a free agent when his
contract expires in the summer but his next club will have to pay a
compensation fee – expected to be around 2million – set by a tribunal.

United, meanwhile, will not be pursuing a deal for Benfica’s Argentine winger Nicolas Gaitan, 24.