Manchester United are close to reaching a £20 million agreement with Borussia Dortmund over a transfer involving the Bundesliga outfit’s star defender Mats Hummels.
According to the Mirror, United’s move for the German World Cup winner was back on late on Thursday night - thanks to a little help from fierce rivals Liverpool.
Reds’ boss Brendan Rodgers will allow talented 21-year-old centre-back Tiago Ilori to leave Anfield on a season-long loan to Borussia Dortmund, who regard the Portugal Under-21 international as a potential short-term replacement for the revered Hummels.
Ilori only made nine starts for Liverpool last season and is unlikely to establish a first-team place with the Merseyside outfit next season because of stiff competition for the two centre-back positions.
And while allowing Dortmund to sign Ilori on loan would benefit United in the short term, the Reds believe the youngster will blossom into a fine centre-back in his own right - and that he will develop quicker by being sent on loan to the fast-paced and physically-testing Bundesliga.
Van Gaal desperate to land Hummels
United have subsequently received a major boost in their pursuit of long-term transfer target Hummels, who Louis van Gaal believes is the perfect defender to lead the club’s new-look three-man defence.
Hummels, who began his career at Bayern Munich before moving to Borussia Dortmund in 2009, is a natural leader with the ability to fill the void left by departed centre-back duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
His reputation was further enhanced after helping Germany win their fourth World Cup in Brazil this summer; however, reports suggest United are close to signing the defender for a modest £20 million fee.
Watch: Hummels in action at the World Cup
Change of heart from Jurgen Klopp?
It signals a chance of heart from Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, who warned United they could forget signing Hummels - especially for a reported €20 million - last month.
The highly-respected German coach, who enjoys an excellent working relationship with Hummels but has grown used to losing his best players since arriving at Signal Iduna Park, said there was no sign that either his star centre-back or winger Marco Reus - another United target - wanted to leave the club this summer.
But United officials are working hard behind in the scenes, on Van Gaal’s behalf, to get a deal done for the Germany international who would significantly bolster the Red Devils’ chances of getting back into the top four next season.
Potential United investors were warned by the Glazer family that failure to qualify for the 2015/16 Champions League could have severe consequences - including the loss of top players and key members of the coaching staff.
But the acquisition of Hummels would give the Premier League giants a real chance of challenging the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal next season.