Speculation linking Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper Rui Patricio with a summer move to Manchester United continues to grow after the Portuguese club refused to comment on reports an agreement had been reached by the two clubs.
The 23-year-old stopper is widely regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in Europe, and according to talkSPORT Patricio could complete a move to Old Trafford when the transfer window reopens in June.
With Edwin Van Der Sar just four games away from retirement, Sir Alex Ferguson must now turn his attention to finding a suitable replacement to fill the Red Devils number one spot.
United have been heavily linked with a move for Atletico Madrid's David De Gea, as well as tomorrow’s Champions League opponents Schalke’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
But Ferguson has reportedly already got a contingency plan in place should either of those prospective transfers fall through, with the highly rated Patricio poised to link up with Manchester United in the summer.
Red Devils midfielder Luis Nani is alleged to have recommended his Portuguese teammate to Sir Alex, and following favourable reports back from Manchester United scouts, Ferguson could step up his interest this summer.
Interest in Lisbon's star stopper is thought to be high, with a number of top club's across Europe said to be vying for Patricio's signature.
A move looks increasingly likely after Sporting president Godinho Lopes failed to rule out a transfer.
"At the moment I'd rather not say anything about the existence of offers for our player," Lopes said.
"Rui Patricio is playing very well and is part of the plans for Sporting next season. I trust he will continue to put in good performances with us."
Manchester United will monitor the situation, and should any other club make an enquiry, they may be forced to make a decision or else risk missing out on the latest in a list of Old Trafford targets.