Wilfried Bony is expected to be named in the Swansea City squad which faces Sheffield United this weekend despite being told he can leave the Liberty Stadium this month.
The Ivory Coast international missed August's meeting between the two clubs after being granted compassionate leave following a family bereavement but later returned to action and appeared as a substitute during City's draw with Preston North End last weekend.
Bony, a £12m signing from SBV Vitesse, appears destined to leave South Wales before the end of the transfer window but his presence on City's bench underlines the financial handicaps United have overcome to force themselves into promotion contention.
Despite breaking their own transfer record at the beginning of the season, when Bramall Lane's hierarchy paid £4m to acquire John Egan from Brentford, Bony cost more than the combined intial fees of every United player who appeared against Queens Park Rangers five days ago.
Chris Wilder's squad climbed to second, eleven places and 13 points above City, when David McGoldrick's first-half goal proved enough to end the Londoners' six match unbeaten run.
Although United's latest opponents are in receipt of a Premier League parachute payment after being relegated from the top-flight last term, manager Graham Potter must trim the wage bill he inherited from predecessors Paul Clement and Carlos Carvalhal before making any major changes to his roster.
Bony, aged 30, earns an estimated £100,000 a week and has reportedly attracted interest from the Chinese Super League.
But City's efforts to offload the centre-forward before Saturday evening's fixture with United have been complicated by a raft of financial regulations, introduced by the Chinese Football Association, to curb overspending in its flagship competition.
They include a state levied tax which would effectively double any fee paid of over £7m and the outlawing of any cash payments or similar rewards to players.