Manchester United look set to win the race to sign England Under-18 international Nick Powell, according to

The Crewe Alexandra striker netted 15 league goals last season, as the Railwaymen sealed promotion via the playoffs after beating Cheltenham Town at Wembley.

And the form of the 18-year-old hasn't gone unnoticed in the Premier League, with United leading a host of clubs for Powell's signature.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson must manage his strikers next season.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton are all understood to have held talks with Crewe over the possibility of signing Powell, while Manchester City have also made an enquiry.

However, Sky Sports understand a deal that would see Powell move to Old Trafford is 90% complete barring any last-minute hitches.

Powell netted a wonderful opening goal in Crewe's play-off final win over Cheltenham last month, the cherry on top of a marvellous season for Alex.

The England youth international is the latest product of Alexandra's fruitful youth system, which has produced the likes of David Platt and Dean Ashton.

Given the furore surrounding Powell, United appear to have secured a coup in signing the striker having beaten off competition from their closest domestic rivals.

With United's financial power on the wane, and their competitiveness in the market diminishing, the signing of Powell represents an important break-through, and a vital victory over rivals City, who have threatened to dominate previous windows with their financial power.

Michael Owen has already been released, while Dimitar Berbatov is also expected to leave the club, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson potentially short of forwards for the new season.

Will Keane, who starred with the reserves last season, is expected to miss whole of the upcoming campaign, after injuring his anterior cruciate knee ligament.

That leaves Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney to spearhead United's attempts to reclaim the Premier League title, however with the latter two expected to turn out for England at the summer's European Championship, Ferguson could be left alarmingly short come the resumption of the domestic campaign.

The club have already confirmed the signing of Japan international Shinji Kagawa for the new season, having missed out on Lille's Eden Hazard.