Manchester United are preparing an approach for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, according to the Metro. The 22-year-old was a key member of Jurgen Klopp's side in the run to second place in the Bundesliga and the Champions League final at Wembley.
The report says United boss David Moyes has set his sights on the German international after three bids for Spain international Cesc Fabregas were turned down by Spanish champions Barcelona. Belgium's Marouane Fellaini, who Moyes worked extensively with at Everton, remains an option as well.
The Catalan club have confirmed Argentina's Gerardo Martino as the man to replace Tito Vilanova, who resigned from the Camp Nou over health concerns. Martino, who coached compatriot Lionel Messi when he was a youngster, is believed to be unwilling to release Fabregas, who he holds in high regard.
And given Moyes has already publicly stated his wish to reinforce the central midfield positions at Old Trafford, it is likely the Premier League champions will now focus on Gundogan. The battling midfielder has received Shinji Kagawa's backing; the Japanese played with him during his spell at Dortmund.
What should United's case now is that Gundogan was quoted as expressing an interest in English top flight football. He has two years left on his present contract and the Metro believes United will have to bid in excess of £20m to land their man.
However, Gundogan says his immediate future is with the former German champions. Talks over a new contract are ongoing and he says he is confident of agreeing a new deal.
"I am definitely going to be playing for Dortmund next season. I am very, very grateful to this club and I know what I have here. The club has helped me to mature a lot and find my way into the national team," he explained.
"As soon as I get back, I am going to talk with my family and my father will then sit down with [Dortmund's general manager, Hans-Joachim] Watzke and [director of sport, Michael] Zorc," he concluded.