Radamel Falcao
Reported Manchester United target Radamel Falcao hit 36 goals in his debut season for Atletico Madrid last term. Reuters

Some big names have been linked to Manchester United in the latest wave of transfer speculation. Conflicting reports have emerged in recent days over United's reported pursuit of Sao Paulo rising star Lucas Moura.

Stories in Italy have stated that Inter are front runners for the attacking midfielder's signature and had sent a delegation to Brazil in order to try and tie up a deal. Lucas confirmed that his father had met with representatives from Inter.

The English press believe United are still very much in the running for the 19-year-old Brazil international, however. Indeed, the Daily Mail has claimed that United have sent representatives of their own to try and complete a transfer for £30 million.

The latest words coming out of Sao Paulo would suggest that Inter are still some way from getting a deal done.

There is no [formal] offer and, even if it were to appear, this amount is ridiculous, said director of football Joao Paulo de Jesus, according to the Daily Mail.

How can you pay €25 million (£20m) for a player of Lucas' quality?

Italian football is broke--the club [Inter] are broke. It seems they are creating this to satisfy the fans.

Reports on Tuesday also link United with an ambitious and even more lucrative move for another South American star in Colombian Radamel Falcao.

According to Generaccion, Sir Alex Ferguson has joined the hunt for the Atletico Madrid striker, who has also been linked to Chelsea and Juventus.

With Dimitar Berbatov likely to follow Michael Owen through the exit door at Old Trafford this summer, United could well have a vacancy for a striker. However, the club would have to smash their transfer record with a bid in excess of £40 million to land one of the most sought-after front men in the game.

Given United's recent dealings in the transfer market, it is hard to envisage such an offer being forthcoming.

Manchester United have also been mentioned in connection with the latest speculation over the future of Wesley Sneijder. TalkSport claims that big-spending Russians Anzhi Makhachkala are set to make an offer of £19.7 million for the Dutchman in addition to offering an annual salary of £11.9 million.

United were strongly linked with a move for Sneijder throughout last summer but a deal never materialized. With United having signed Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund there would now appear little need for another attacking midfielder to operate in the center.

Someone who has been linked to United through much of this summer, Leighton Baines, is said to be closing in on a move to Old Trafford. The Daily Star reports that Ferguson is eager to tie up a £16 million deal for the Everton left-back before United head off on their pre-season tour of South Africa and China next week.

According to the story, United will pay an initial £12 million for the 27-year-old England international. Doubts must remain about the validity of this and other similarly themed stories. Baines falls outside of United's criteria of not committing large fees on players aged 16 or over. He is also only less than four years younger than the man for whom he is said to be a long-term replacement, Patrice Evra.