Manchester United have stepped up their pursuit of Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder, as Sir Alex Ferguson searches for a replacement for Darren Fletcher.

The Scottish midfielder is now unlikely to be fit for the start of the new season and reports over the weekend suggest United are keen to sign Sneijder before the club's pre-season starts in earnest.

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Fletcher's illness problems forced him to miss 12 matches in the second half of last season and the 27-year-old suffered weight loss, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The midfielder was unable to travel with United on their summer tour of the U.S.A and Ferguson now faces the prospect of starting the new season with just Michael Carrick, Anderson and Ryan Giggs available in central midfield.

United are keen to lure Dutch international Sneijder to Old Trafford but there are a number of factors still complicating the deal.

The former Real Madrid playmaker's £250,000-a-week wage demands have proven a significant stumbling block but his family life is believed to be another issue.

Sneijder's wife, Yolanthe, a TV presenter and model, is believed to favour the lifestyle afforded her in Milan and is reluctant to move to Manchester.

But reports over the weekend suggest the couple are eager to break into the lucrative English-speaking market and have appointed an agency to raise Yolanthe's profile.

Sneijder's Dutch international manager Bert Van Marwijk has suggested an Old Trafford switch would suit the midfielder.

"A transfer to United will do Wesley a lot of good," said Van Marwijk. "He will benefit as a player from playing for them. With Real Madrid and Inter Milan, he has already the biggest club names in football on his side. But Manchester United will be another big step up the international ladder for him.

"United have a unique playing style and they perform consistently at the highest level.

"Their methods in training, and the way people work at the club with players, are superb. This is why it will be a new challenge to Wesley. It will inspire him and it will give him new energy."

New 'Kaka'

Manchester United are interested in Santos wunderkind Paulo Henrique Ganso, according to reports.

Dubbed the new 'Kaka' by the Brazilian press, the 21-year-old has been linked with a slew of top European sides in recent weeks but has said he won't leave Brazil until after the conclusion of the Club World Cup in January.

According to The Mirror, United will have to fend off interest from Tottenham, AC Miland an Paris St. Germain to secure the £23m-rated midfielder's signature.

Meanwhile, United have been linked with a move for Arsenal target Juan Mata, according to the Daily Mail.

Reports suggest that both United and Arsenal have registered an interest in the Valencia midfielder, with Ferguson lining up a £20m bid for the highly rated youngster.

But the 23-year-old insists he's only focused on next season.

"It is true that teams have been linked with me but this is a good sign that I am playing well," he told Lasprovincias.

"Despite all the rumours, I have to stay calm and step away from all the speculation. I am well aware of the rumours but this is not the first summer I have had to deal with this so they do not worry me.

"My aim now is to make sure I am ready for the start of the new season and keep improving as a player. I want to win more trophies."