Manchester United and Liverpool both had advances knocked back for Germany star Christoph Kramer this summer, being forced to wait for next summer in what is likely to be a four-way race between the Premier League pair, Juventus and Atletico Madrid.
According to the Daily Express, Kramer piqued the interest of officials out of Old Trafford and Anfield following his performances for Germany during their run to winning the 2014 World Cup this summer.
The report claims that Manchester United and Liverpool, along with their counterparts from Italy and Spain may even have submitted offers for the 23-year-old. However, he is currently the middle of a two-year loan to Borussia Monchengladbach from Bayer Leverkusen and that created problems for any potential deal.
Open to offers
Leverkusen were open to listening to offers for the energetic midfielder, but Monchengladbach were determined to hang on to him and refused to give up their agreement to hold onto him for the duration of next season.
Kramer made only three appearances in the competition but the report claims this was enough to interest the Premier League pair. The 23-year-old's first two appearances were as a substitute against Algeria and France; he was selected to start the final against Argentina owing to an injury suffered by Sami Khedira, but was forced to come off in the first half after taking a blow to the head.
It was a shame for the youngster and an setback for manager Joachim Löw, but they managed to weather some good pressure in the first half from the Argentines and late substitute Mario Götze scored a terrific winner in extra-time.
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Attributes that will be drawing the attention of Louis van Gaal and Brendan Rodgers will Kramer's versatility and sensational work rate - he covered more ground on average than any other player in the Bundesliga last season. There are also no worries about his technique with him being a product of the lauded German youth system.
Manchester United have a raft of injury troubles already in this new Premier League season, but even with injured players fit, there is nobody that can do a job in front of the defence that Kramer could. He can combine combative with quality that Van Gaal can only singularly call upon with his current options.
Liverpool meanwhile, have captain Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva as players comfortable with screening the defence, but only the Welshman realistically has a long term future in the side. Gerrard is now into the latter stages of his career and Lucas doesn't look as though he is part of Rodgers plans - the Anfield boss tried to offload him.
As the report says, next summer could see something of a transfer tussle once Kramer's loan spell at Mönchengladbach comes to an end. Until then he has plenty of opportunity to impress in the Bundesliga, the Europa League and for the German national team.