Manchester United are favourites to sign Barcelona defender target Mats Hummels on deadline day.
Sky Bet are offering odds of 9/4 on the Borussia Dortmund star moving to the Premier League giants later today, as the clock ticks down into the final hours of the summer window.
The Red Devils have already been very busy this summer, with Angel di Maria the latest big name addition at Old Trafford and Radamel Falcao set to follow. The Colombian is expected to complete a loan move later today.
However, that might not be the only business Louis van Gaal concludes before 11pm tonight, with the bookies keeping Manchester United at the front of the queue for the German international.
Defence is a major issue for Manchester United, and a source of their problems on a couple of occasions already this season - most notably in the League Cup defeat to MK Dons. They lost experienced heads in the summer, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both leaving for nothing.
That’s put added pressure on the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans to perform at Old Trafford, particularly in a 3-5-2 formation favoured by the new manager. Injuries have also seen Tyler Blackett thrust into first team duty for the Red Devils.
Marcos Rojo is expected to join the former champions, although work permit issues have delayed that move. Daley Blind would also bolster the ranks if his move goes through, but he can also play at left wing-back or in defensive midfield.
Hummels is an out-and-out defender who has proved himself in the Bundesliga and Champions League, as well as on the international stage, and would be a superb addition for Manchester United.
However, the bookies acknowledge that Barcelona remain in the race for the player, and offer odds of 3/1 on the player moving to the Nou Camp.
Barca's defensive worries
Luis Enrique isn’t flush with options at the back after Carles Puyol’s retirement, although the Catalan giants have added Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen to their ranks this summer.
Hummels would certainly provide another option for Barcelona ahead of their challenge in La Liga and Europe - two competitions they failed to win last season - but they have little time to complete a move.
And, if they want the £25million-rated defender today, then they will have to bypass Manchester United in the market.