Manchester United could turn their attention to Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric after it appeared increasingly likely that Old Trafford target Cesc Fabregas would stay at Barcelona, according to the Times.
The paper reports that United are preparing to bid £25 million for former Tottenham Hotspur star Modric as manager David Moyes looks to add to his midfield options.
Modric has been unable to command a regular first-team place since moving to the Bernabeu in 2012, and had interested United during his days at White Hart Lane.
Midway through last season, Modric had said he would welcome a return to the Premier League – but the change of management in Madrid, where Carlo Ancelotti has taken over from Jose Mourinho, could offer him the chance of a fresh start.
Speaking at the weekend, Moyes said he was confident United would make more signings before the transfer window closed - but revealed he was unsure whether they would attempt a third bid for Fabregas after seeing two previous offers turned down.
"I couldn't tell you if there will be another bid," he told a press conference in Hong Kong.
"I never at any time said I knew we would get him. I just said we had made offers. They have been rejected. We will take stock from there and decide what we are going to do next.
"But what we have here is a really good squad of players already. You mustn't forget about the quality that is already here at Manchester United.”
United have also failed in attempts to bring in Thiago Alcantara, who joined Bayern Munich, and Everton left-back Leighton Baines, while Moyes has also been linked with Modric, Marouane Fellaini and Yohan Cabaye.
He added: "Undoubtedly we are hoping to add to it [the squad]. I am quite confident we will do, certainly before the window shuts. We have got until September 2."
So far, United's only summer signings are winger Wilfried Zaha - whose £15 million move from Crystal Palace was arranged by Sir Alex Ferguson before his retirement - and Uruguayan youngster Guillermo Varela.