United are undergoing a major squad revamp this summer after a dismal year that saw them finish sixth.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants a more pacy looking attack and has brought in Mason Greenwood from the academy and Daniel James from Swansea.
Marcus Rashford has also been given a new £300,000-a-week contract after being made first-choice striker ahead of Romelu Lukaku.
It has left the Belgian being marginalised and he is desperate to depart – with Inter Milan interested in his services.
But the Red Devils are not letting him go easily after slapping a £90m price-tag on him.
And they are growing impatient with Inter – who have been told to stump up the cash quickly or move on, with two weeks left in the transfer window.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is still in England working on deals and wants to wrap up a replacement quickly.
And it has emerged that Lille star Pepe is top of the list, with French publication La Voix Du Vord reporting that a £72m fee has been agreed.
However, it looks like United will miss out on the Ivorian after the club’s president Gerard Lopez said Napoli were set to snap up the forward.
He said, according to Tancredi Palmeri: ”I accepted an offer of €80m for Pepe from Naples, now it’s up to the player.”
Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti recently stated that he is desperate to land the 24-year-old after admitting he had met his agents.
“They were in our hotel,” he said. “I said hello, as I did with all the agents who came here.
“Obviously, we are interested in Pepe, his agents are here and there’s no point hiding that.
“Negotiations are in progress and we’ll see what happens.
“Pepe is a wide attacking player. We want to find someone who can play between the lines, but also strong with his feet.”
United now face an anxious wait to see if Pepe chooses Napoli or themselves.