Old Trafford will battle with Stamford Bridge and Bernabeu clubs for playmaker.
Manchester United are keeping tabs on £25m rated Palermo midfielder Javier Pastore but Chelsea and Real Madrid are the front-runners to sign him.
Malaga and Manchester City are also in the hunt for the 22-year-old, according to club president Maurizio Zamparini.
United boss is keen on the Argentina international as his attempts to lure Luka Modric, Samir Nasri or Wesley Sneijder to Old Trafford have proved frustrating.
But the Red Devils are not first in-line to sign the playmaker with the Blues and Los Blancos leading the race, but the president has written off Serie A rivals, Napoli’s, chances of signing Pastore.
“At the moment it looks as if Pastore will move abroad. Real Madrid and Chelsea lead the race for his services,” Zamparini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“There is not much news, as the same clubs still want him.
“Napoli have not made a fresh approach for him. Those quotes are outdated. They’re from a meeting several weeks ago.
“(Napoli president Aurelio) De Laurentiis sat next to me and asked whether we could talk about Pastore. I said, ‘no’ and haven’t heard from him since.”