By Alan Nixon

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is teeing up a shock swoop for Leicester City’s young centre-half Liam Moore.

Liam for United? Fergie in hunt for Foxes' teen Moore... and so are Everton

Fergie sent his chief scout Jim Lawlor to watch the ­teenager in action at the weekend as he sizes up a move, possibly before the window shuts on Friday.

Lawlor ran the rule over the 19-year-old England youth cap, who has only played a handful of games for the Foxes but is already attracting huge interest. With United short of centre-backs, Ferguson could move fast to beat the pack. Moore came through the ranks at Leicester, with a brief spell on loan at Bradford.

United are also on red alert because of the remarkable volume of interest in Moore so soon after he made the first team at Championship level.

Everton spy Alan Stubbs – a classy defender in his time – was also watching, along with the chief scouts of ­Sunderland and Tottenham as the grapevine buzzes.

Leicester have not put a valuation on Moore but could be in for a decent windfall as some big guns prepare to take an early punt on a promising English prospect.

United are in the market for an immediate solution to their defensive crisis, with Michael Carrick’s SOS call to play centre-half and Rio Ferdinand’s injury troubles putting them on the spot.

Carrick struggled to cope with the aerial power and strength of Marouane Fellaini in the defeat against Everton.

The big Belgian dominated the United defence in that opening fixture defeat, and claimed the winning goal with a header that left Fergie fuming.