Manchester United have taken a massive lead in signing Borussia Dortmund star Ilkay Gundogan, according to talkSPORT.

The 24-year-old has one year left on his contract with his current employers. The player confirmed talks with Barcelona and Bayern Munich over a potential move in the summer transfer window.

Luis Enrique is looking for a replacement for Xavi and had earlier identified Gundogan as his successor at Camp Nou. The Barcelona captain played his last match for the Catalan club and has agreed to join Qatari side Al-Sadd.

However, the Champions League winners have ended their interest in signing the German international as a direct replacement for Xavi. He was also on the radar of Dortmund's domestic rivals Bayern Munich.

The German champions are also not willing to sign Gundogan because of the midfielder's high wage demands. With both Barcelona and Bayern out of the race, United are now the firm favourites to land the Dortmund player.

Louis van Gaal wants to sign a deep-lying midfielder this summer as he is looking to find a partner for Michael Carrick in the centre of the park. The United manager wants to ease the burden from the England international's shoulders.

Gundogan has been very impressive since returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The Bundesliga club have already confirmed that Gundogan will leave Signal Iduna Park in the summer.

A move for him will help the 20-times English champions bolster their midfield for next season.

Meanwhile, former United defender Mikael Silvestre has paid tribute to Rio Ferdinand after the latter announced his retirement from professional football. The Englishman spent the last season with Queens Park Rangers after being released from United in 2014.

"He made everything easy. You need to be like that when you play at the back because you must show composure more than anywhere else on the field," Silvestre told United's official website.

"It was what Rio was really good at and also, with his technical ability being so high, he was relaxed on the ball and capable of always making the right decisions," he added.