Jose Mourinho watched Marco Verratti during a scouting mission in November.
The Manchester United manager has spent the last nine months drawing up a dossier of midfield targets in anticipation of an overhaul of his engine room this summer.
He knew he would have to replace the retiring Michael Carrick - and has also been weighing up alternatives to the out of contract Marouane Fellaini.
Verratti is one of a host of potential targets considered by United as part of an extensive search.
Mourinho told scouts to scour the globe for midfield talent and is closing in on the £52m signing of Brazilian international Fred as a result.
But he knew he’d likely need to add two players in that department in what is set to be a busy summer.
While he has worked hard to convince Fellaini to sign a new deal at Old Trafford, he is determined to improve a midfield that has failed to click despite spending £130m on Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic in the last two years.
He watched Verratti during Italy’s World Cup playoff defeat to Sweden at the Friends Arena in Stockholm.
Now he is being linked with a bid of between £75m-100m for the Italian international at a time when United have been closely monitoring Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
United are said to have been put off by Lazio’s £90m-plus valuation of the Serbian, who is also a target for Juventus.
But PSG’s asking price for Verratti is a measure of how much they will have to spend to recruit a top class replacement for Fellaini if the Belgian continues to reject a new deal.
Mourinho’s search also saw Arturo Vidal, Jorginho and Jean-Michael Seri watched.
United have remained in contact over Nice midfielder Seri, but Fred’s imminent arrival is likely to see them turn to more attacking options.
Milinkovic-Savic has enjoyed an outstanding season in Italy and has the physical presence to fill Fellaini’s void.
Sources in Italy claim a bid of around £80m from United has already been rejected, while the player’s agent Mateja Kezman has warned that his client’s valuation is only set to rise this summer.
“We agree that he’s one of the greatest products in European football in the last season,” he told Tuttomercatoweb. “I don’t want to talk about numbers, but it’s clear the numbers are going up all the time.”
PSG could look to sell Verratti in a bid to ensure they meet UEFA’s Financial Fair Play guidelines.
It was believed in France that his red card during the Champions League last 16 defeat to Real Madrid in March would put potential suitors off - but his quality has never been in question.