Manchester United chief executive David Gill has publicly expressed the club’s interest in Wilfried Zaha, but indicated any potential deal for the Crystal Palace forward would not be completed until the summer.
Zaha, 20, is the hottest talent in England to be playing his football outside the Premier League and has recently attracted a whole host of interest from English clubs, including United and Arsenal.
Palace seem resigned to losing the England international but are reportedly determined to either wait until the summer before conducting any business or bring Zaha back on loan for the rest of the season if they are to sell him in January.
And Gill, who was speaking at the FA’s 150th anniversary launch, has now confirmed that the highly-rated youngster is on United’s radar.
“He’s one of the players we’re looking at and we’ll see what happens,” he said. “There’s a long way to go. He’s one of the players we’re looking at. That’s all I’ll say at the moment.”
Gill added: “Even if we did do something with Wilfried Zaha, that would be for the summer.”
Negotiations are understood to be far more advanced than Gill made out, however, with Palace manager Ian Holloway looking into the possibility of taking Federico Macheda on loan as part of the deal.
Elsewhere, United are also believed to be monitoring Swansea City captain Ashley Williams.
Although Sir Alex Ferguson caused controversy by claiming Williams “could have killed” Robin van Persie for kicking the ball at the striker’s head when the two sides met in December, the United boss is believed to be a keen admirer of the player.
Ferguson has increasingly focused his attention on United’s defence over the last few months, with three of his key players coming to the end of their prime. His interest in Leighton Baines to eventually replace Patrice Evra is long-standing, while Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are 31 and 34 respectively and both have a history of injury problems
Meanwhile, an Old Trafford source confirmed that the club is "waiting to see" what will happen with Wesley Sneijder.
A move is now unlikely despite extensive contact from the playmaker's agent. Only if the player's desperation to secure a move sees a dramatic drop in wage demands, would Ferguson be prepared to take a gamble.
The Scot is understood to be unwilling to alter the dynamic of a team on a good run of form by bringing such a big star into the club.