The 27 year-old, who has played 63 times for Italy, is considering leaving the Serie A side he has supported since childhood after a turbulent three years in which his father-in-law was shot and killed in a gangland revenge attack and he separated from his wife, Tamara.
United, like Real Madrid, hold a longstanding interest in the Roma vice-captain but have been consistently informed that he would not consider leaving the club where he started his career and his father, Alberto, remains a youth team coach.
Both clubs have now been informed, though, that De Rossi is prepared to leave the Italian capital in a bid to escape the troubles that have enveloped his life away from the game.
Jose Mourinho, the Real manager, is thought to be keen to pair the player with Xabi Alonso, while Sir Alex Ferguson will be given funds this summer to strengthen his squad, with a replacement for Paul Scholes, along with a goalkeeper and a central defender, likely to be a priority.
Though his age and price may not appeal to United’s desire to bring in players with high resale values, De Rossi’s undisputed quality would tempt Ferguson, who has struggled to settle on a central midfield partnership in recent years.