Manchester United are likely to miss out on Brazilian midfielder Lucas Silva, who has suggested he is close to completing a move to Real Madrid.

The 21 year old has become one of Brazil's most coveted young stars after helping lead Cruzeiro to the Brazilian championship.

His burgeoning reputation in his homeland has caught the attention of Real Madrid in recent months but United have previously looked to beat the Spanish giants to the youngster's signature, approaching the player's agent during the summer transfer window.

However, Silva told Marca in November that a transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu would be his "dream move" and has since revealed contact with Carlo Ancelotti's side, although he may remain in Brazil for his side's upcoming Copa Libertadores campaign.

"I don't know if they are going to propose me joining them midway through or at the end of the season, whether I'll stick around for the Copa Libertadores or not," Silva told Brazilian media, the Daily Mirror report.

"I don't know what's going to happen. However, it would be interesting to say for the Libertadores and then join them for preseason."

With Sami Khedira's future at Real Madrid uncertain as he edges towards the end of his contract, Silva has been identified as the German's long-term replacement.

While Silva's rise in Brazil is likely to have attracted more potential buyers from around Europe, the midfielder has made little secret of his desire to sign for Los Blancos.

"Of course I'd like to play for Real Madrid, it would be an honour. But for that to happen, an agreement between the clubs would need to be put in place first. I'm a Cruzeiro player and have so much respect for my club. If a club like Real Madrid came along, I wouldn't turn them down," he said.

"When a club like Real Madrid want you, it always makes you feel proud and happy. I know that I have to be focused here at Cruzeiro, that's my club, but interest from Real Madrid inspires me to keep working hard."