It is widely believed that the current priority on Ferguson's agenda is to add a long-needed top-class midfielder to his ranks. That player looks increasingly unlikely, however, to be the club's presumed number-one target Luka Modric.
Spanish publication AS has reported that the Croatian playmaker has set his sights on a move to the Bernabeu, with personal terms already having been agreed. The one remaining issue left to be resolved is for Tottenham to accept an offer from the La Liga champions.
Real had earlier been frustrated by midfielder Nuri Sahin's refusal to move in the other direction in part exchange. According to AS, though, Real will now offer Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho as an addendum to their €35 million (£27.8m) offer.
With that in mind, Ferguson is thought to have identified Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho as his primary alternative. Late last week, the Times claimed that United had lodged an opening bid of £20 million with Porto. And United could be encouraged by reports that Moutinho has requested a transfer from the Portuguese champions.
However, conflicting reports have emerged regarding the validity of United's interest. According to the National, Tottenham believe that United will not compete with them in their efforts to replace Modric.
Yet another alternative for United could well be Fulham's Moussa Dembele. The Sunday Times has claimed that United have lodged a bid for the Belgium international.
Though he was originally purchased as a forward by the Cottagers, he proved himself as a more than capable central midfielder during several appearances in that role last season. Dembele has been a far from prolific scorer throughout his career and it could be that Ferguson views him as the technically-gifted all-action midfielder missing at Old Trafford.
With 24-year-old Dembele having just a year remaining on his contract at Fulham, it is widely believed that he may be looking to move to a bigger club this summer. Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham have all been linked with the former AZ Alkmaar man.
Manchester United may not be the next destination after all for exciting Brazilian starlet Lucas Moura. The attacking midfielder has been linked with a host of Europe's top clubs, including United, in recent months. But Inter now appear to be favorites to land the 19-year-old Brazilian international after Lucas confirmed negotiations had begun with the Milan giants.
They are a big club and anyone would like to play there. I am no exception, Lucas said, according to Sky Sports.
I know my father and my agent have spoken with the Inter president, but they have told me nothing yet.
I can't guarantee I'll stay at Sao Paulo until the end of my deal.
In football things can change very quickly and this situation is not just down to me.