Manchester United are stepping up their pursuit of Valencia star David Villa.

The Daily Star Sunday says United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has had his scouts making regular checks on the Valencia marksman in the last few weeks.

It's now accepted that Villa, 28, will move on and all Europe's big spenders will be involved in the battle - Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, who are United's Old Trafford opponents today.

But United, who also retain a strong interest in another Valencia star - midfielder David Silva - are the club said to appeal most to Villa.

A top Spanish source said: "Manchester United are the favourites to get Villa."