Manchester United appear to have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder.
The Dutch international playmaker was courted by the Red Devils all summer, with Sir Alex Ferguson trying to play down the club's interest despite feverish speculation in the British media.
Sneijder himself admitted an interest in the Manchester United move at the time, although later back-tracked by saying he was happy at the San Siro.
The transfer tussle is expected to start again in earnest this January, but reports in Italian publication Corriere dello Sport claim Inter boss Claudio Ranieri is already preparing for life after Sneijder.
Reports claim the Serie 'A' side are keeping tabs on German international Mario Gotze, another reported Manchester United target, with plans to make a move for the highly-rated Borussia Dortmund star in the New Year.
That could leave the coast clear for Manchester United to finally bring the 27-year-old to Old Trafford, although wages could be the only stumbling block for the English champions.