Manchester United and Arsenal could face significant competition for the signing of Ilkay Gundogan, with reports suggesting that Real Madrid are now in pole position to land the Borussia Dortmund playmaker.
23-year-old Gundogan is one of a number of coveted stars who has been impressing for Jurgen Klopp's Die Schwarzgelben in recent seasons, having made the move to Signal Iduna Park from Bundesliga rivals FC Nürnberg in May 2011.
Alongside the likes of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus, Gundogan is an integral member of the first-team setup at Dortmund but has been sidelined of late with a back injury sustained during an international friendly in August.
Those aforementioned struggles have not stopped speculation as to the player's future from rapidly intensifying, though, with Premier title rivals United and Arsenal both recently linked with potential moves for the £30m-rated German midfielder.
However, it appears as if both Arsene Wenger and David Moyes could be set to miss out on Gundogan.
According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Real - now managed by former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti - look to have formalised a withstanding gentleman's agreement between the La Liga giants and Dortmund that would appear to put the former in the driver's seat for the purchase of Gundogan as part of a potential deal to permanently sign on-loan Turkish international Nuri Sahin.
Such news would presumably come as a blow for United boss David Moyes in particular, with the Scot looking to re-assert his authority in the January transfer market after missing out on a number of high-profile targets during the summer.