According to the Manchester Evening News, United boss David Moyes remains a fan of the 18-year-old midfielder.
And following confirmation from Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers that the Anfield club are not pursuing the youngster, the report claims United could step in to win the race.
Earlier this week, Liverpool had reportedly reached an agreement to sign Hughes in the January transfer window, prompting Rodgers to come out and deny the reports.
He did call the teenage England under-21 star a "wonderful talent", but confirmed Liverpool had not made a bid for the player.
And Rodgers believes he's best off at Derby County, playing first-team football. The youngster has appeared in all 15 of Derby's Championship matches this term, and he's already a key player for the Rams at the age of 18.
United's desperate need for a midfielder could prompt Moyes to consider a bid for the teenager in the January window.
United have struggled in the middle of the park, despite the addition of Marouane Fellaini over the summer.