Manchester United look to be increasing their interest in Fredy Guarin, with reports suggesting that the club have made initial moves with a view to signing the Inter Milan midfielder.
Guarin is believed to be a long-term target of the Red Devils and now, according to reports in Italy cited by The Daily Star, Manchester United have begun the process of discovering exactly how much it would cost in terms of both fees and wages to tempt the £18 million-rated Colombian international to Old Trafford.
Premier League rivals Tottenham were previously believed to be one of their main competitors in the race to sign Guarin, although the same source - which suggests that Guarin himself is keen to move to Manchester - reports that the North Londoners, by contrast, are definitely not interested despite recent claims to the contrary.
It has been another long and testing summer in the transfer market for Manchester United. After enduring the frustrations of last year - when then-manager David Moyes and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward invited a huge amount of criticism after failing to snap up several first-choice targets - supporters appeared understandably hopeful that the arrival of a reputable and experienced figure such as Louis van Gaal would provide a significant boost in the club's attempts to sign some of the world's most impressive talents.
Despite June's double capture of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, however, the big name signings have failed to materialise once again, with now less than a fortnight remaining in which to do anymore business.
Van Gaal's critical need to add further faces to his squad was made even more apparent during Saturday's opening day Premier League fixture against Swansea City, with a lacklustre and frankly feeble showing from Manchester United - who are believed to have sealed the signing of Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo yesterday - ensuring that the Dutchman's first competitive game in charge ended in a disappointing and morale-sapping defeat.
Watch: The latest Manchester United transfer news
Vidal deal failed?
While a concrete deal for Guarin presumably remains some way off, it is questionable whether his signing would be anywhere near enough to appease those who have become increasingly agitated by Manchester United's failure to secure their preferred signings.
The 28-year-old has spent two years as a permanent fixture at the San Siro, initially joining Inter on loan from Portuguese outfit FC Porto back in January 2012.
While there is certainly no doubting that he is a competent and versatile player who could be extremely capable of adapting to life in the English top-flight, Guarin certainly does not boast the same sort of lofty reputation as Juventus enforcer and fellow Serie A-based South American Arturo Vidal.
Indeed, it could certainly postulated that Manchester United's sudden eagerness to pursue a deal for Guarin would suggest that Van Gaal and Woodward have finally conceded defeat in their efforts to bring the Chilean to the North West.