MOSCOW, September 16 (R-Sport) – Anzhi Makhachkala forward Lacina Traore was on the brink of a summer move to Manchester United, his agent told Italian media on Monday.
The sides had all but agreed upon a transfer of the 6-foot-8 Ivorian until Anzhi owner Suleiman Kerimov decided that he needed to hang onto one quality striker with the departure of Samuel Eto'o to Chelsea, Dmitry Selyuk was quoted as saying by Tuttosport.
Zenit St. Petersburg boss Luciano Spalletti was also keen on the 23-year-old, Selyuk said.
"In August my phone rang constantly. Luciano Spalletti wanted Traore at Zenit at all costs, but the club that came closest to taking it was Manchester United," he was quoted as saying.
"The deal was well under way, but you must also understand that Suleiman Kerimov ... sold 12 players over the summer."
But Selyuk added that a move away from Anzhi might still be in the cards this winter. "First, Anzhi must find a worthy replacement for Lacina, and then anything is possible."
Liverpool and Juventus have also been linked with Traore, who scored 12 league goals for Anzhi last season.