Manchester United are set to spend again with the signing of 22-year-old Rennes defender Julien Escude.

Escude’s French agent Bruno Satin said: “Julien will sign next week for a great English club and it is true that Manchester United are one of the possibilities.”

The defender’s other agent Axel Lablatiniere added: “There has been no concrete offer yet, but they (United) are keen on the player ….. and have made enquiries.”

Despite United’s chief executive Peter Kenyon stressing that there was no more money available, the departure of Denis Irwin and uncertainty of Phil Neville, leaves Ferguson light on naturally left-sided players.

Escude can also play at centre-back, creating the possibility of a new partnership with Rio Ferdinand.

After several impressive displays at the European Under-21 Championships, the œ4 million-rated French starlet has been coveted by a host of clubs across Europe including United’s Premiership rivals, Liverpool and Leeds.

“Julien would really like to join (Manchester) United because they are one of the best clubs in Europe. They are the club which has shown most interest,” explained Lablatiniere.