Manchester United have confirmed their interest in Wilfried Zaha, with David Gill, the chief executive, stating that "there is still a long way" until any move from Crystal Palace is completed. However, it is understood that Zaha has told friends he believes the deal is close to completion.

Gill said: "If we did do something with Zaha, that would be for the summer. We'll see what happens. There's a long way to go. He's one of the players we're looking at. That's all I'll say at the moment."

While Arsenal retain an interest in the 20-year-old, United remain favourites to sign him, for a fee around £10m. Zaha may then be loaned back for the rest of the season – this may be why Gill suggested it would be "summer" before he begins at United – and Palace would also like two or three players on loan from the buying club to help their promotion push from the Championship.