Manchester United are weighing a move for German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in January if they fail to secure a move for Kevin Strootman from Roma, according to the Daily Express.
The German has spent much of the last couple of years on the sidelines through injury, stunting his career and leaving him out of the German squad which went on to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
However, there are no question marks over his ability as the midfielder is still rated among the best in the position.
Louis van Gaal had made Kevin Strootman his top target for January but with Roma putting a £75m price tag on the Dutchman, the former Ajax manager has shifted his attention to Gundogan, who will make his much anticipated return to the Borussia Dortmund line-up this weekend.
United are looking for a holding midfielder as a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, who missed the start of the new season through injury.
Van Gaal has another alternative in Arturo Vidal, who has burnt his bridges with Juventus manager Massimo Allegri after going out partying the night before their top of the table clash against AS Roma.
However, Strootman and Gundogan remain his prime options with both midfielders on the verge of returning from long-term injuries.
Strootman was out for nine months with an anterior cruciate ligament rupture which kept him out of the Dutch squad that scaled the semi-finals of the World Cup. Van Gaal is a huge fan of the midfielder and is likely to do everything in his power to prise his signature.
Meanwhile, Gundogan has hinted that he is unwilling to leave Dortmund in January as he looks to get his form back and establish himself in the team.
The 23-year-old faces competition from Shinji Kagawa, Nuri Sahin, Sven Bender and Henrikh Mkhitariyan for that coveted spot.
"I am now available. The plan is that I am fully integrated into the team as soon as the national players are back," he told Sky Sports Deutschland:
"I am assuming that I am in the squad on the weekend against FC Cologne."