Manchester City were thought to have an agreement with Shakhtar Donestk that would permit Fernandinho to move to the Etihad Stadium in the New Year, but the report claims Manchester United are now keen to pip their local rivals to the signing.
Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to have been impressed by the Brazilian's recent performances in the Champions League, not least against Chelsea, and is reportedly prepared to sanction a move for the playmaker rated at £16.5m.
The Ukrainian giants are in no rush to sell one of their best players, especially having progressed to the latter stages of the Champions League, and manager Mircea Lucescu is desperate to keep hold of Fernandinho, and teammate Willian.
Tottenham Hotspur are thought to be tracking Willian, but the report claims Shakhtar will be much more willing to talk transfers at the end of the season, rather than in January.
Still, Fernandinho is eager to test himself in the Premier League after eight seasons in Ukraine, and with the choice of the top two teams in England, a move next month could be on the cards.
Manchester United fans have long claimed that the club needs a new midfielder, while Manchester City signed Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia in the summer. The Old Trafford club currently rotate Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Anderson, while City principally play Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry. But both clubs could perhaps use the dynamism of Fernandinho, a player with five caps for Brazil.