Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan's dream move to Real Madrid is reportedly under a cloud of uncertainty due to persistent injury problems, giving Manchester United renewed hope as they bid to land one of Europe's hottest properties.
Gundogan has played just 56 minutes of Bundesliga football this season after suffering a stress fracture in his lower back in August, with a frustrating spell on the sidelines affecting both Dortmund's season and his chances of a summer transfer.
Real Madrid have a verbal agreement in place with Dortmund that gives them first option on Gundogan, but are thought to have huge concerns over his fitness record and may look elsewhere for new recruits as a result, according to Marca.
That change in stance boosts United's chances of filling a long-term gap in their midfield considerably, with Gungodan the kind of creative playmaker United have courted ever since David Moyes arrived at Old Trafford.
Moyes failed with summer swoops for a whole host of top transfer targets, including Ander Herrera, Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara and Daniele De Rossi.
United are still searching for quality in midfield and will continue to monitor Gundogan as a long-term target, with the Turkish international's Dortmund team-mate Marco Reus another player persistently linked with a switch to Old Trafford.
Gundogan's current deal at Dortmund runs out in 2015, making next summer make-or-break for the 23-year-old in terms of deciding his long-term future.