But United moved a step closer to signing William Carvalho last night after bidding £25m for the Sporting Lisbon midfielder.

Under-fire boss David Moyes has been promised up to £200m to spend in the transfer market this summer and made Cavani his top target.

United were willing to smash their transfer record to lure the Uruguay hitman to Old Trafford from Paris Saint Germain in an £80m deal.

It is understood United bosses sounded out Cavani several months ago about a possible move and were willing to offer him a contract worth around £280,000-a-week.

But Starsport can reveal Cavani has changed his mind and snubbed United because he reckons they are a club in decline.

A source close to Cavani told Starsport: "He is well aware of United's interest in him and at one stage this might have seemed like an attractive proposal.