MU hopes of making the Germany international Mesut Ozil their fourth summer signing appear to have receded.
Asked about the chances of the 21-year-old moving to Old Trafford, one boardroom figure said he would be "surprised".
Ozil, one of the outstanding players of the World Cup, is available for a cut-price fee of £13.5m from Werder Bremen where he is in the final year of his contract. Real Madrid have already made an offer of around £12m and there is also interest from Chelsea and Barcelona.
Sir Alex Ferguson was at Craven Cottage on Saturday to meet Bremen officials after the team's friendly against Fulham, and the United manager is still hoping for a deal.
However, there are complications, with the player undecided about what is best for him and the same applying to Bremen. But United intend to retain their interest.