Sir Alex Ferguson is considering a sensational move for unsettled Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.
Sportsmail understands Lampard would not be averse to a switch to Old Trafford.
With United struggling for numbers in midfield and desperate to make sure tomorrow’s FA Cup opponents Manchester City do not leave them behind at the top of the Barclays Premier League, manager Ferguson is weighing up an offer for a player he has always admired.
With Lampard now 33, the United board would have to be persuaded to sanction a deal for a player who earns in excess of £140 000 a week and would have no sell-on value for a club still struggling under the weight of the Glazer debt.
United would also face a battle to persuade Chelsea to sell to a major rival.
However, Ferguson believes Lampard represents a unique opportunity to add something significant to his squad and was delighted this week to hear of suggestions the former West Ham midfielder would consider a move north to Manchester.
Lampard has only 18 months left on his current deal and does not enjoy a particularly healthy relationship with Stamford Bridge boss Andre Villas-Boas.
It is understood that Lampard is looking to move away from Chelsea this summer and would ideally like to stay in the Premier League.
The transfer fee would be minimal; given his contractual situation and that he has given Chelsea 10 years of service.
Ferguson considered joining the bidding for Lampard when he joined Chelsea from West Ham for £11 million in 2001.
Subsequently he has made no secret of his admiration for him, saying in one interview in 2005: “Lampard is quite an interesting case. He is an exceptional individual.”
While Lampard could not be relied upon to play every game, he would bring something different to the dressing room.