Celtic defender Emilio Izaguirre has emerged as a surprise summer target for Manchester United.
The news as reported by the Daily Mirror has added fuel to the speculation that Patrice Evra is set to leave Old Trafford for Real Madrid at the end of the current season.
Sir Alex Ferguson was seen at the Old Firm derby on Sunday and was said to be making a personal check on the 24-year-old left back at yesterday’s Scottish Cup tie after receiving glowing reports from Manchester United scouts in recent weeks.
Izaguirre, who featured in the 2010 World Cup for Honduras joined Celtic last summer from his homeland side Montagua after turning down a move to England when Wigan Athletic offered him the chance of Barclays Premier League football.
The scouting operation came just a day after the Red Devils were deprived of beating their 29 game unbeaten run in the league in a shock defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The defeat also cost United the chance of equalling Arsenal's 2003-04 feat of going through an entire Premier League season undefeated.
Speaking on MUTV after the game, Ferguson explained, "We are disappointed, particularly after going in front so early in the game.
"The result was caused by bad play at set-pieces. That is the nuts and bolts of it and we don't dispute that.
"We had an incredible amount of possession. The pitch wasn't very good, but nevertheless we never really created anything."
Izaguirre’s impressive displays in the SPL for the Hoops this season has attracted attention from a number of other English clubs.
But Manchester United and Ferguson are said to be leading the race for this highly rated players signature as they step up their search for a long-term replacement for Evra whose contract runs out in the summer of 2012.