Manchester United have held talks over the signing of Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea, according to the player's agent.
United's current No. 1, Edwin van der Sar, will retire at the end of the season and De Gea is one of the star names pencilled in to replace the out-going Dutchman.
De Gea, 20, has established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper at Atletico ahead of Sergio Asenjo since breaking into the first team in 2009 and has been watched by United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele on numerous occasions. Sir Alex Ferguson also saw De Gea in action when Atletico played Valencia in September last year.
With reports circulating that United have made a £17.5 million offer for the Spain U-21 international, his agent, Hector Rincon, revealed that the Premier League leaders have been in contact and that their offer would meet De Gea's release clause.
"Well, we did have talks with Manchester United but, first of all, they always look for an agreement with the club," Hector Rincon told sport.co.uk. "Anyway, most of the biggest European teams have shown interest in David de Gea."
Asked if Atletico would be willing to part with their highly-rated goalkeeper, Rincon said: "You would have to ask the club. What I can tell you is that his release clause now is €20 million, but I have no idea if the club would sell him for less.
"Right now, the player has a contract with Atletico Madrid and if Manchester United or any other team want him they will have to reach an agreement or pay the whole release clause."
Atletico president Enrique Cerezo, in response to the reports of United's interest, suggested that they may not follow through with a firm bid. He said: "I am looking at a house in the Canary Islands, but that doesn't mean I am going."
Rincon also reiterated - as he told ESPNsoccernet last year - that Wigan Athletic once made an offer for De Gea and that recently all the top clubs in England have shown an interest.
"Well, some time ago, before he became an important player in Atletico, Wigan made an offer, but the club rejected it," the agent said. "Recently, I don't want to say any names but all the big clubs in England and in Europe have asked about him."