Both clubs seem keen to add a left back to their squad before the close of the transfer window and it’s Spurs who have the slight advantage in the race for his signature.
The fact a deal for Gareth Bale has just gone through aids Spurs in their pursuit of Coentrao in two main ways.
It shows they have a clear line of communication open with the Spanish club already who may be willing to do a deal which will help them finance that move for Bale, which has just gone through.
They are also likely to have the first opportunity to sign Coentrao because early indications suggest United won’t move for the player until later today as they still want to try and sign Leighton Baines from Everton.
That gives Tottenham a pocket of time to operate within which they can use to their advantage, sounding out the Spanish club over the possibility of letting him leave and testing the water with early bids.
United are severely hampered by their interest in Baines because if they try to do that deal and then miss out, they could be left without a defensive addition should Tottenham already have a deal agreed and in place.
However, where United get their advantage back is through the fact they have a genuine shot at winning all domestic silverware this season but more importantly, they can offer Champions League football.
Coentrao is still a very young man at just 25-years-old and European football is going to be important to him and he could see moving into the Europa League as a step down after Champions League adventures with Real Madrid.
Tottenham’s aggressive pursuit would be harsh on young full back Danny Rose who has only just returned to the club following a good spell on loan with Sunderland last season.
However, defeat in the North London derby plus cash available could force Andre Villas-Boas’ hand because he won’t want to go another season watching Arsenal pip spurs to fourth place all over again.
In terms of which side needs him more, United probably just edge that contest.
Should Patrice Evra get injured at Old Trafford then David Moyes has made it clear that he doesn’t have a lot of confidence in back up options like Alexander Buttner or Fabio.
For Spurs it’s different because if Benoit Assou-Ekotto resists the lure of a move to Queens Park Rangers today, AVB will have two solid left back options and two players he trusts over a long season.
Spurs have their noses ahead in terms of opportunity but United will be confident they can react late in the day if they don’t get anywhere near Baines.
Who do you think will sign him? Will he stay at Real Madrid?
image: © anna enriquez