Premier League champions Manchester United are reportedly ready to make a January bid for Spanish La Liga club Athletic Bilbao's midfielder Javi Martinez, with the hope that the signing could improve already scarce and stretched midfield options.

The English club's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson has seen a number of injuries strike his players this season and has Tom Cleverly, Anderson and Darren Fletcher sidelined. It now appears he is keen on bringing the young Spaniard - a defensively-minded player - to help boost his Old Trafford side.

It is believed Ferguson will be handed a significant amount of funds to help strengthen his squad, as they look to challenge league leaders and local rivals Manchester City. Martinez, who has reportedly been on United's radar for quite some time, may be brought in o deliver that extra push and drive.

The 23-year-old Basque, who has been a consistent performer in the demanding Spanish league for quite some time now, may, for his part, be keen to make a high-profile move to one of Europe's elite clubs, in a bid to help cement his place in the Spanish national team ahead of the 2012 European Championships.

It is believed that a bid of £20 million has been prepared for the player.