The Daily Mail says United would have to pay £21million to bring Atletico Madrid goalkeeper De Gea to Old Trafford.
United are searching for a long-term replacement for Edwin van der Sar who is expected to announce that this season will be his last.
De Gea, 19, is rated as the best young goalkeeper in Europe by many observers and Sir Alex Ferguson saw the Spain Under 21 international first hand when he spied on Valencia before their Champions League meeting.
The buyout clause in De Gea's contract is set at 25m euro, around £21m.
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