Manager-in-waiting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign the best young talent rather than older experienced players.
It’s why he has ordered regular updates on Benfica pair Joao Felix, 19, and Ruben Dias, 21, plus Sporting Lisbon’s 24-year-old Bruno Fernandes.
But the top clubs in Europe including Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid also covet the trio who are all regular internationals for their country.
It’s why forward Felix has a £105million release clause, midfielder Fernandes’ buy-out cost is £95million while Dias has a value of £50million.
That adds up to a hefty £250million if a club wanted to secure all three.
That’s unlikely but right now Solskjaer is keeping his options open as he prepares for his first foray into the transfer market.
Even though his appointment as permanent manager is yet to be confirmed by the Old Trafford hierarchy he has delivered a wish-list of transfer targets to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward which includes the Portuguese trio. One player who would come a lot cheaper – at least regarding a transfer fee – is Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot.
He is in dispute with the club and will be available on a free in the summer.
And Manchester United legend Gordon Strachan has backed the Norwegian for the Old Trafford hotseat.
Strachan is delighted Solskjaer is tapping into Sir Alex Ferguson’s knowledge – and isn’t worried by his lack of coaching ability.