The girl and the boys aged 15 and 16, were detained by West Midlands Police in Birmingham early today after a search operation involving the force’s helicopter.
Officers were called to Belgrave Middleway at 1am and found a man with multiple stab wounds collapsed on the pavement.
A police spokesman said: “Officers from across the force searched nearby canals and railway tracks supported by the force helicopter.
“A girl and a boy aged 16 were arrested nearby along with a boy aged 15. A knife was also recovered and is currently undergoing forensic examination.”
Detective Inspector Ian Ingram, from the force’s Criminal Investigation Department, said: “This was a nasty incident and our thoughts remain with the victim who is in a critical condition in hospital.
“We have spoken to a number of witnesses and we are encouraged by the progress we have made in relation to our investigation but continue to appeal for anyone with information to come forward.
“The motive for the attack remains unclear at this time but I can confirm that we are treating this as attempted murder.”
An area near to a church in Bristol Street has been cordoned off while a forensic examination takes place and motorists using the out-of-city carriageway are being advised to avoid the area.
Anyone with information is urged to contact West Midlands Police on 101 or the Crimestoppers service on 0800 555 111.