Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin is ready to snub interest from Manchester United in favour of joining Zenit St Petersburg, after the Russian giants successfully booked their place in the Champions League group stages following a 4-0 aggregate playoff victory over Standard Liege.
The Colombia international has been heavily linked with a move to the Petrovsky Stadium for much of the summer, but appeared reluctant to link up with Andre Villas-Boas while their participation in Europe's elite club competition for the 2014/15 season remained in doubt.
But, after Brazilian striker Hulk netted twice to give ten-man Zenit a comfortable 3-0 home win over their Belgian opponents on Tuesday night, the Russian Premier League outfit progressed to the first round of the tournament proper, and in doing so moved a step closer to securing Guarin's signature.
The Daily Star reports that the 28-year-old has been lined up by Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal if his attempts to bring Juventus playmaker Arturo Vidal to Old Trafford hit the buffers.
However, it now looks as though their chances of landing Guarin are hanging by a thread as the Serie 'A' star looks to secure a move away from the San Siro before the transfer deadline on September 1.
San Siro exit
Inter are eager to sell the South American schemer as they look to raise funds for Walter Mazzarri to reinvest in his squad.
Club president Erick Thohir is thought to have lowered his asking price for the player to just £10 million, which represents a relative bargain for any suitors looking to snap up a box-to-box midfielder in the remaining days of the window.
News of Guarin's alleged intentions to pen a deal with Zenit will come as a blow to Manchester United, particularly after last night's shocking 4-0 defeat to League One side MK Dons in the Capital One Cup, which emphasised Van Gaal's need for further reinforcements.
The Premier League giants confirmed the blockbuster signing of Argentina international Angel di Maria from Real Madrid in the build-up to Tuesday's game, but will need more players to make the team competitive again this season.
Former Porto man Guarin would've been a value-for-money acquisition for the Red Devils, but the absence of Champions League football after their dismal seventh place finish last term looks like ruling them out of the running for his signature.