Manchester United will strike first in the race to sign highly-rated Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, according to Goal.com. The report states that as part of the deal United will allow Zaha to remain with the Championship club until the end of the season.

Zaha has been hotly tipped to make a move in January, with a host of Premier League clubs—including Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham—said to be interested.

Palace co-chairman Steve Parish has recently claimed that he values the player at £20 million, although the belief is that he will ultimately be sold for a lower fee. Zaha made his debut for England against Sweden on Wednesday, just days after he turned 20.

With Nani still yet to sign a new deal at Old Trafford, Zaha could well be seen as a replacement for the Portuguese wide man.

Another name that has long been seen as potentially being the player to fill Nani’s boots is Porto’s James Rodriguez. The Colombian’s skills are thought to be hugely appreciated by United boss sir Alex Ferguson, with the Daily Mail reporting that Rodriguez was watched by scouts from Old Trafford for the seventh time on Sunday.

While a massive move looks inevitable at some stage, the 21-year-old has said he is only focusing on Porto for the moment.

"We must be calm and quiet," he said, according to TalkSport. "Rumors and are to be taken with caution. When you are focused on your work it is normal things go well.

"But I think it is premature to think about my future. For now, I prefer to live in the present."

Rodriguez has continued his sensational form of last season into the start of this campaign, scoring seven goals in 12 appearances.

A third option to occupy a wide berth at Old Trafford also appears to have emerged with reports linking Manchester United with a move for Roma’s Erik Lamela. Citing claims in Italy, TalkSport reports that United are weighing up a move in January, having failed with a bid of around £13 million in the summer.

Lamela, 20, arrived in Rome from River Plate in the summer of 2011 for a reported fee of around £12 million. And the left-footed Argentina international has built on his solid start to his career in Italy last term by scoring a stunning eight goals in 10 Serie A games so far this season.

In other news, Manchester United have again been linked with a big-money move for Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema. The France international claimed earlier this year that United boss Ferguson had repeatedly tried to sign him ever since he was at Lyon.

And now Benzema’s latest comments have drawn fresh speculation over his future.

“Of course, I want to play more,” he said, according to Metro.  “I've spent more time on the bench than I have on the pitch since the season began, but I'm going to keep fighting and make the most of the minutes I get.”

Benzema, 24, has started just three league games this season, while appearing off the bench on another six occasions.  That situation has led to Metro suggesting that Ferguson could renew his interest, while Caught Offside even claims that Real Madrid are planning to offer Benzema in exchange for United striker Javier Hernandez.

While the Mexican has been linked with a move to the Bernabeu in the past, any swap deal involving Hernandez and Bernabeu would appear to be highly unlikely at this stage.