Manchester United are close to signing Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem's wing back, Alexander Buttner, in a deal reportedly worth £3.9m.

The Dutchman has been identified as cover for French left back Patrice Evra, who is the club's only recognised player in that position after Brazilian youngster Fabio was loaned out to QPR for the season. The Red Devils have been strongly linked with a move for Everton's Leighton Baines as a first choice option but given the Merseyside club's reluctance to sell, Sir Alex Ferguson seems to have moved for an alternative.

"I'm travelling to Manchester this evening [Sunday] and I'm very delighted that such a big club bought me," the Guardian quoted Buttner as saying.

Alexander Buttner
Buttner is close to joining United

The transfer has reportedly caused a degree of surprise in Holland, given that the 23 year old is considered a player still in development and maybe not ready to challenge for a first team slot at Old Trafford. Buttner has yet make his debut for the national team but has attracted interest from a few other English clubs, including Fulham, Southampton and QPR.

"If you had told me one week ago that I would be training with and playing for the same team as Robin van Persie, I would have sent you to a mental home! This is crazy stuff, beyond all my dreams. I am looking forward to this challenge so much. I am so proud and so glad that it has worked out like this. I'm so glad that it has happened and everything has turned out like this. This is really a dream come true," the Daily Mail quoted the defender as saying.

It should be pointed out that United are still to official comment on Buttner's transfer.

Ferguson Pondering van Persie Role

Meanwhile, Ferguson is considering handing Buttner's compatriot and fellow new signing, Robin van Persie, a start against Everton in the opening game of the clubs' seasons.

The 29 year old completed his transfer from Arsenal to United last week and has been included in the squad that will visit Goodison Park. The only obstacle could be the fact the Dutchman has had limited training time with his new team mates, prompting Ferguson to leave the decision till the last possible minute.

Robin van Persie
van Persie could start against Everton

"He hasn't played much. We are going to assess him and chat with him, see how he feels himself. Adrenalin will help, if I choose to start him, but I think it's important he had a training session on Friday morning," quoted Ferguson as saying.