As The Star reported earlier this week, City want to sign Slater on a permanent basis after he impressed for them on loan last season - helping Grant McCann’s side win promotion from League One before returning to Bramall Lane.
Wigan Athletic are also monitoring Slater’s situation and could make an official approach shortly.
Although McCann is confident of securing the 22-year-old at the second time of asking, having failed in a bid to prise him away from Bramall Lane at the beginning of the Championship campaign, it appears unlikely officials negotiations can begin until Acun Ilicali’s takeover of City is formally completed.
Their prospective Turkish owner’s interest in former Bursaspor player Emirhan Aydoğan will not prevent McCann from accelerating his pursuit of Slater - something the Northern Irishman must do in order to dissuade Athletic from making contact.
Despite the economic crisis gripping his homeland, Ilicali’s purchase of City appears set to go ahead with McCann telling him Slater could be the perfect foil for the more attack-minded Aydoğan.
However, while United are aware of their rival’s desire to push through a deal, sources last night insisted the player has yet to undergo a medical or begin discussing personal terms.
Members of City’s administration department believe they know the price United are demanding for the youngster, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and also what his salary demands will be.
Able to satisfy both, they believe United’s failure to offer him an extension over the summer is an indication they are willing to do business - despite new manager Paul Heckingbottom’s warning Slater must not be sold before being given an opportunity to showcase his talents during a spell in caretaker charge last year.
That has convinced McCann that things will move quickly once City receive the green light to meet with Slater’s representatives. Discreet overtures were made to United’s hierarchy soon after Slavisa Jokanovic’s appointment in May and although the Serb, who was sacked six months later, was known to admire Slater - inviting him to train with the first team before an injury interrupted his progress - they were not reciprocated. A number of Slater’s colleagues at United are also set to become free agents shortly, although the board has insisted they possess options on some.
A lifelong United fan, he became the youngest ever player to score for United after netting on his senior debut during an EFL Cup tie at Grimsby Town in 2016.
Slater completed spells with Carlisle and Scunthorpe before heading to City, going on to become a key member of McCann’s starting eleven after making a slow start to his career there.
Rotherham and Preston North End are also known to have kept a check on his progress in the past, while Derby County were keen to take him to Pride Park soon after he graduated from United’s academy programme.