Manchester United submitted a bid for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas on Monday, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to publicly discuss the bid, which was submitted by United executives from Sydney where the team is currently on its pre-season tour.
Despite Barcelona offering no public indication that Fabregas is for sale, United has offered $39m to bring the former Arsenal captain back to the English Premier League, as David Moyes looks to make his first major signing as manager of the English champions.
The transfer bid comes two years after Fabregas left Arsenal after pushing to rejoin boyhood club Barcelona.
There are three years remaining on his Camp Nou deal, and Arsenal is reported to have first refusal if Barcelona chooses to sell Fabregas.
At Old Trafford, the Spain midfielder would be re-united with striker Robin van Persie, who joined from Arsenal a year ago.
The 26-year-old Fabregas would help to fill the void left by the retirement of Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher, who is continuing to recover from a bowel condition.
Last month, Fabregas expressed a desire to stay at Barcelona despite struggling to establish himself as a regular in the starting line-up for the Spanish champions.
"If Barcelona said that they didn't want me, that would be another thing - but what I truly want is to triumph at Barcelona,'' he told Spanish radio.
"That's been my dream since I was a kid.''