Everton are prepared to sell Mikel Arteta if they cannot secure him to a new contract.

The Mirror says Manchester United are ready to make an audacious swoop for Arteta.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson holds too much respect for his Everton counterpart David Moyes and would never try to steal the player away.

But if Everton do decide that they can't persuade the midfielder to commit his long-term future then they would be interested, especially if the price was right at about £10million.

Arsenal already see Arteta as a possible replacement should Cesc Fabregas leave, and City have made no secret of their admiration for the midfielder.

Everton don't want to sell and still believe the Spaniard will sign a new deal, and officials at Goodison would be massively reluctant to do any business with City after the bad taste left by Joleon Lescott's move to Eastlands last summer.