Chelsea and Real Madrid are also chasing the small but skillful Sao Paulo attacking midfielder who is now the Reds' No.1 target
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson wants to make Brazil's next big thing - Sao Paulo starlet Lucas Moura - his big summer signing.
Fergie has sent a delegation headed by chief scout Jim Lawlor to thrash out a deal for the 19-year-old, who is also wanted by Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Ferguson is pleading with United's owners, the Glazer family, to spend up to £30million on the youngster who tops his hit-list as he aims to improve his side after a trophyless season.
United have been on the Moura's trail for months and invited his father to Old Trafford for talks - as Mirror Sport revealed in April.
Now, they have gone to Brazil in a bid to seal the massive transfer.
Moura, who has already capped by his country, is valued at £35m by Sao Paolo, but United are looking at ways of bringing down the price while also winning over the player and his loved ones.
The youngster's contract is part-owned by his family. If they back a move to Old Trafford, it could give Ferguson's hopes of pulling off the coup a real boost.
Show me the money: The Glazers must fork out if United are to land Lucas Moura
Fergie hopes the fact that United see Moura as their top priority will also give them a leg up on Chelsea and Real.
However, the real key will be getting the financial backing of United's American owners, by using the argument that Moura will have re-sale value as he is younger than alternative targets such as Tottenham's Luka Modric.
Chelsea have had a bid for Moura turned down, while Spanish champions Real are already in talks with his camp.
Moura is a small but super-skilled attacking midfielder who made his debut as a 17-year-old and has now played 80 times for Sao Paolo.
United would have no hesitation spending the money and putting Lucas into their side from the start, with Ferguson desperate for an injection of something fresh after a season of disappointment.
Lucas Moura bid rejected
The player was keen on a move, but it hard to sign a player who play regularing
Manchester United now in official talks with Sao Paolo, but it's got to be wrapped up BEFORE Olympics
Manchester United have made a £20million-plus bid for Brazilian wonder boy Lucas Moura - and want him signed before he plays in the Olympics.
United are now in official negotiations for the Samba starlet who is their top target for the new season, as Mirror Sport revealed, and the opening offer could rise in the coming days.
Boss Sir Alex Ferguson has given the go-ahead to spend a chunk of his budget on the Sao Paulo sensation who would walk into his side even at the age of 19.
And the Glazers will also finance the move because of Lucas's age and potential 'sell-on value' - with the Americans under pressure to deliver a big name after a trophyless season.
Fergie has been after Lucas for weeks but the attempt to land him has now got serious, with Inter Milan also in the hunt - and the youngster admitting he could possibly move.
United do not want Lucas to light up the Olympics this month and push his value higher again. Sao Paulo scent a killing and are looking for a jackpot deal.
The Brazilians claimed to have had a £32million bid from Chelsea last season and would like that figure. United are convinced they currently have the best offer on the table.
Lucas has opened the door to a switch and said: "I cannot guarantee that I will stay until the end of my contract. Much has changed and the situation is not up to me anymore.
"I don't have a crazy desire to leave but when the time comes I will speak with my family and decide what is best for my future.
"I'm very calm and down to earth about it. My job is to play football so that these clubs continue to be interested."
y all clubs interested in brazil teens
seem like Ganso is the one nt seen by other
Brazilians are now claiming they want to hang onto the teenage attacking midfielder rather than sell and cure their financial woes
Brazilian club Sao Paulo claim they had rejected a new £29.8million bid from Manchester United for midfielder Lucas Moura.
United had been confident of landing the teenage attacking midfielder after sending a delegation to South America to seal the deal.
But Sao Paulo president Juvenal Juvencio, who had been publicly preparing the way for a deal, has suddenly changed tack in what appears a clear move to ratchet up the fee.
The Brazilians now insist they rejected the latest bid, after turning down United’s opening offer of £25.9m, even though it met their previous asking price.
The club, which plays in the iconic but decrepit Morumbi Stadium, own 80 per cent of Moura’s economic rights until the end of the month, with Moura and his representatives retaining the remainder. The 19-year-old will then, contractually, acquire another 10 per cent.
Sao Paulo are currently without a sponsor, and keeping hold of their star asset is seen as the only way of attracting outside investment.
A club source said: “What matters in football is what you achieve on the pitch, not how much you have in the bank. We have decided that Moura will be an important part of the trophies we want to win.”
United will now have to up their offer - paying above what they felt was the market rate for their prime target - or withdraw, a move which might force a change of heart from Juvencio and the cash-strapped club.
Think the max they'll offer is 32m pounds which was what they offered to Lille for Hazard.
Fergie will get his man (boy) as 19-year-old Olympian dazzler's club Sao Paulo finally settle on massively upped price – now it's down to personal terms
Manchester United have agreed a staggering £26 million deal with Sao Paulo for Brazil sensation Lucas Moura.
Boss Sir Alex Ferguson is being backed by the Glazers to land the 19-year-old wonder boy, who appeared as a sub against Team GB, and the move is now down to agreeing terms with his camp.
Ferguson’s negotiators have astonishingly doubled their valuation in the talks on Lucas, who has been a target for months as the Mirror first revealed in March.
Sao Paulo have accepted the sale price on Lucas, who is in England for the Olympics, and United are confident they can come to an agreement with his agents.
Lucas is looked after by his father and an agency and they want a big payment too, with United trying to agree those figures in a hurry.
Inter Milan and Chelsea also chased Lucas but backed off at the price tag. However Ferguson is determined to land a ‘worldie’ for his squad.
Amazingly Lucas would need a permit appeal to be allowed to play in England, but with the money involved the authorities are sure to be convinced he is in the ‘special talent’ category.
Face of the future: Fergie's got himself another young diamond in Lucas
Rough stuff: Lucas has probably spent his career getting lumps kicked out – but how will he fare in the Prem?
Lucas would ideally have a medical as soon as possible, but Brazil are favourites for the gold medal - and it would be disruptive for them at the moment.
He's a bit special....
Does the dailymirror only have that one photo of him.