Manchester United intend to plough ahead with their transfer business during the potentially long process of waiting for a new manager to start – almost three months in Louis van Gaal's case – and their extensive inquiries include exploring the possibility of whether Paris Saint-Germain might sell Edinson Cavani.

United confidently expect to close a deal of around £30m for Luke Shaw, offering the teenage Southampton full-back a lucrative financial package that could be worth as much as £100,000-a-week over five years. The offer will be difficult for Chelsea to match bearing in mind their issues over keeping in line with Uefa's financial fair play rules. Ed Woodward, United's chief executive, has been made aware that Cavani might be available and is also tempted to look again at Cesc Fábregas's position at Barcelona, despite the unsatisfactory way it turned out when they tried to sign him last summer.

Although United were accused of handling the process badly at the time, the club remain convinced that Fábregas was keen to join them only for the proposed move to break down because of the politics and sensitivities that surround his association with Barcelona. Their interest is sustained in part because Robin van Persie, Fábregas's close friend, has reported that the former Arsenal midfielder wanted the move to happen, using the striker as an intermediary, and Woodward was told exactly the same by the relevant agents.

United failed with bids of £25m and £30m, as well as making a verbal offer in the region of £35m, and could not persuade Fábregas to go public or try to force the issue. This time they will approach it more cautiously but, again, with the sense that both Fábregas and Barcelona are more open to the idea than their public utterances might lead people to suspect.

What is increasingly clear is that United realise they will have to spend significant sums of money if one of Van Gaal or Carlo Ancelotti, the two managers uppermost in their thoughts, is to repair the damage that was caused in the David Moyes era. The team, who are out of next season's Champions League, lie seventh in the Premier League, 23 points off the top, and are about to be deposed as champions.

Woodward is confident that two deals have already provisionally been put in place, though those names have not been revealed. Their interest is known in several high-calibre players such as Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan at Borussia Dortmund, Toni Kroos at Bayern Munich and Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho.

Chelsea were considered favourites to land Shaw, a lifelong Chelsea supporter whose parents live near the club's Cobham training centre in Surrey. Yet the terms plus the lure of becoming Patrice Evra's instant successor at left-back have boosted confidence at Old Trafford that the 18-year-old England prospect will join, becoming the highest paid teenager in English football.