Palacios's performances since being plucked from the obscurity of the Honduran leagues has been enough to attract the interest of a raft of Premier League clubs, with his star turn in victory over Tottenham last week crystallising manager Harry Redknapp's thoughts.
Arsenal also expressed an interest in the player but were quickly put off by the price tag placed on Palacios by Wigan though, according to a report in the Mail
, no such problems would be faced by United.
United's late intervention will come as a major blow to Redknapp, who had been assured the deal would be completed over the weekend.
Negotiations are ongoing with the matter now in the hands of chairman Daniel Levy from a Tottenham perspective.
Redknapp said: 'He's a good player. The chairman is dealing with it – he's talking to Wigan. I've spoken to him and he was pretty close to a deal.'
Bruce originally signed the Honduran when in charge of Birmingham City, on the recommendation of Arsene Wenger, and when he moved to Wigan the first thing Bruce did was to re-sign the player for just £1 million.
Whether it is to Tottenham or United who prove successful, Bruce is reluctant to see his prize asset leave, though realistic about the economic realities of a club the size of Wigan trying to hold on to such a player when bigger clubs come calling.
'It's a wonderful piece of business in terms of what we bought him for and what we're selling him for,' Bruce said.
'But it is like losing my right arm because where do I go and find another player like Palacios?
'It's an unbelievable success story for Palacios because he was still in Honduras 18 months ago.
'We all knows that Spurs are one of the biggest clubs and can blow us out of the water in terms of what they can offer contract wise.'