10 things you need to know about Giorgio Chiellini
Manchester United are tracking Juventus star Giorgio Chiellini as a possible replacement for the unhappy Nemanja Vidic.
But what do we know about the Italian stopper? This is what...
1) Chiellini began his career at the frankly absurd age of just six, when he joined the junior ranks at Livorno. He played as a midfielder and a winger before breaking into the first-team at left-back in 2000.
2) Now more often deployed in central defence, he made 55 appearances for Livorno, scoring four goals, before signing for Juventus for €6.5m in 2004.
3) The Turin giants, however, didn't thrust Chiellini straight into the hurly-burly of first-team action. Instead, they sold co-ownership of the player for €3.5m to Fiorentina, where he spent the 2004-05 season.
4) A year later, after impressing in Serie A for the Viola , Juve wanted him back and handed over €4.3m to retain full ownership of the defender. He has since become a regular in the first-team, playing more than 120 games, and has twice agreed extensions to his contract, keeping him at the Stadio D'Elle Alpi until 2013.
5) Chiellini helped Italy win the European Under-19 Championship in 2003, and was a member of the team that won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics.
6) He played 26 times for Italy's Under-21s before winning his first senior cap in November 2004 against Finland. He now has 27 caps and has scored two goals, including a belter against the Faroe Islands. See that stunning strike below .
7) He was a member of the Italy squad for Euro 2008 and gained infamy in his home country for the training ground challenge on defensive kingpin Fabio Cannavaro that resulted in him missing the tournament through injury.
8) Manchester United face a fight for the signature of the highly-rated 25-year-old with local rivals Manchester City also on his trail. Oh goody.. let battle commence!
9) He took part in the ad campaign for this year's FIFA 10 game and admits: "I'm a big fan of the FIFA games. I've been playing them since I was a child." Watch him talk about the game, and mush more besides, in the video clip below .
10) As a youngster growing up, his idol was AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini.