Manchester United should give serious consideration to rivalling Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool for the services of highly-rated Southampton defender Dejan Lovren this summer.
The Croatia international has made clear his desire to depart St Mary's this transfer window, having attracted admiring glances from a host of rival Premier League suitors following an impressive debut campaign in England last term.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is already believed to have tabled a £20 million bid for Lovren, with the Guardian citing an interview with the player on Croatian website Sportske novosti as a source.
Successful completion of the deal would see the 25-year-old become the third Saints star to swap the south coast for Merseyside this summer, following the successful captures of Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.
The mass exodus has also seen sought after left-back Luke Shaw join Manchester United in a £30 million deal after Louis van Gaal gave the go-ahead for Red Devils officials to proceed with negotiations for the talented teenager, who had been on the club's radar for a number of months.
Shaw & Lovren reunion
Shaw's arrival at Old Trafford represents an astute signing - despite the extravagant outlay - with Van Gaal significantly strengthening a position of weakness during 2013/14. Now his attention must turn to central defensive reinforcements following the recent departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
An £11 million move for Thomas Vermaelen has been mentioned, but Manchester United would be much better off moving for the aforementioned Southampton centre-back. They might have to pay a little bit more for Lovren's services, but he would definitely be an upgrade on the Arsenal outcast and everything else that Van Gaal stands to inherit in his first-team ranks next season.
Premier League attributes
Comfortable on the ball and a good reader of the game, the former Lyon man boasts all of the characteristics needed to become a top level defender. He is relatively fast across the ground and solid in the air, able to balance both the physicality and composure needed to succeed in the Premier League.
Lovren also formed a strong understanding with Shaw when playing in the same back four at Southampton last season, and Manchester United would certainly benefit from that relationship were they to press ahead with a move for the Croatian, who cost just £8.5 million 12 months ago.
Mauricio Pochettino was clearly impressed with Lovren's contribution at Southampton in 2013/14 or else he wouldn't have been linked with an attempt to lure the player to White Hart Lane ahead of the new campaign.
The new Spurs boss is believed to have identified defence as the main area that needs strengthening, but it's not clear whether chairman Daniel Levy would be willing to meet Saints' valuation of the want-away star.
Levy's typically frugal transfer market approach could allow Manchester United a chance to steal a march on Tottenham, leaving just a two-way fight with Liverpool for Lovren's signature.
Whilst Lovren might be able to fulfil his Champions League ambition under Rodgers at Anfield next season, he must realise that a move to Old Trafford would offer more long-term benefits, with the opportunity to play under Van Gaal also something that shouldn't be sniffed at.