Manchester United are considering entering a bidding war with Chelsea for the services of Tottenham's Luka Modric, while it is believed that Manchester City are also keen on joining the race.
Modric would be open to a move to Old Trafford, according to his agent, after an initial offer of £22 million from Chelsea was rejected by Spurs. Harry Redknapp reiterated on Thursday that Modric is not for sale but Sir Alex Ferguson, an open admirer of the player, is reportedly set to enter the market for the midfielder.
The Daily Star claim that United will tempt Spurs with an offer of around £18 million, plus Premier League topscorer Dimitar Berbatov, in the hope of striking a deal. Nikky Vuksan, Modric's representative, said that the Croatian would consider an offer from the Red Devils, but only with Tottenham's approval.
"If that was the Spurs position then we would be happy to sit with the club and discuss for the future," Vuksan told The Guardian. "He's happy at Spurs. Any offer that comes for him, it's up to the decision of Tottenham Hotspur if they want to reject it or accept it. We have a great partnership with Tottenham and there's not been activity on our behalf that we would do on our own.
"Everything is in coordination with Spurs, and it's all up to the chairman, Daniel Levy, to decide. [Luka's] under contract, he's happy there, he's willing to try to win the Premiership with Spurs and play Champions League [the] next season. He loves the Champions League experience, it was a great honour for Sir Alex to say something like this and he uses it only as a motivation to continue on such a level," he said.
Vuksan refused to reveal Modric's reaction to the rejected Chelsea bid when pressed on the issue, but said it would not be to "anybody's surprise" if a bid of around £40 million came in for his client.
"I'm sorry it's inappropriate for me to say what he thinks about it. Obviously he respects the decision of the club," he said. "If you ask me, Modric is one of the best and one of the probably most expensive players in the world. He's going to keep improving and get better and better."
Former United defender Gary Pallister thinks that Sir Alex Ferguson will make a bid for Modric, who he feels would be the perfect man to fill Paul Scholes' boots.
"There seems to be an impending feeling that Modric is going to move and for me he would be an ideal replacement for Scholes,'' Pallister said.
"The imagination and vision he brings to the midfield makes him a target. He can also score wonderful goals as well, which is part of Scholes' make-up. He maybe doesn't tackle as ferociously as he does but he is a terrific talent.
"I'm sure there are a host of clubs who would love to sign him and I'm sure Harry would love to keep him.''
Meanwhile, United are understood to have offered £9.2 million for RC Lens' teenage sensation Raphael Varane, with the French club agreeing to a deal in principal, subject to the player's approval.