Manchester United have reportedly approached Anderlecht regarding Leander Dendoncker, although appear to face competition from Paris Saint-Germain in the race to sign the Belgium midfielder.
The Manchester Evening News, citing sources close to the player, suggest that United made an enquiry for Dendoncker - supposedly valued between £22m ($29.1m) and £31m - earlier this summer and opened a relationship with his representatives. However, they are not expected to attempt to sign him during the current transfer window and are believed to be looking more towards a deal in 2018.
Dendoncker is a highly-rated young player who will be familiar to both Red Devils supporters and Jose Mourinho, with the 22-year-old having featured for Anderlecht in both Europa League quarter-final clashes against United in 2016-17.
Indeed it was his late bullet header in the first leg that flew past Sergio Romero and ensured that Rene Weiler's side headed to Old Trafford with the tie finely poised at one apiece.
They forced extra-time at Old Trafford, but were eventually sunk by a Marcus Rashford winner in a game notable for the long-term knee injuries suffered by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo.
United, along with the likes of AC Milan and Red Bull Leipzig, were said to have dispatched a scout to Brussels' Constant Vanden Stock Stadium on Friday night (28 July) to run the rule over Dendoncker as Anderlecht began the defence of their record 34th Jupiler Pro League title against Antwerp. He played the full 90 minutes of a disappointing goalless draw.
PSG have also now emerged as suitors for the former K.S.V. Roeselare youngster, with agent Christophe Henrotay admitting that the wealthy Ligue 1 giants had made contact over a player pursued by Atletico Madrid. Everton were also linked with his services earlier this year.
"Yes, there was contact," Henrotay was quoted as saying in the French press by Het Laatste Nieuws. "But that does not mean that Leander will move to PSG, so there's a lot to happen."
Anderlecht sporting manager Herman Van Holsbeeck recently stated that the Belgian champions would ideally like to keep Dendoncker for another season, although conceded that would be difficult to achieve if one of his suitors were to submit a lucrative offer.
Les Mauves et Blancs have already lost the services of one highly-rated young midfielder this summer after Youri Tielemans left for AS Monaco in a €25m deal. They have signed Sven Kums from Watford and STVV's Pieter Gerkens in an attempt to cover that shortfall.
"We want to cherish him, but if a club is willing to pay between €25 and €35m, we have a problem," Van Holsbeeck said of Dendoncker. "Against Manchester United, he has shown twice that he has the potential to play at a top European club.
"We are lucky that the Champions League will not start until September, otherwise we'd have certainly lost him. We would like to see Leander here another year, to work together for a transfer next summer. Just as we did with Tielemans."