Mundo Deportivo reports that United boss David Moyes will attempt to sign Roberto once the transfer window reopens in January.
Moyes is desperate to bring in a creative midfielder in January after having failed to land Cesc Fabregas and Ander Herrera in the summer.
United face competition from Premier League rivals Tottenham in the race to sign the Spanish under-21 international.
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Chelsea have struggled to build momentum in the opening stages of the campaign and are currently looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone.
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