Louis van Gaal is plotting a surprise move for Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar in January, as he looks to continue strengthening Manchester United's defence.
The Express reports that the Red Devils boss knows the Dutch centre-back well from his time in charge of the Holland national team, and was notably impressed with the 29-year-old's performances at the World Cup in Brazil during the summer.
Vlaar has entered the final year of his contract at Villa Park, and Paul Lambert has so far failed to get his skipper to sign an extension, fuelling speculation he could leave the Midlands club on a free transfer next summer.
Manchester United are ready to test Aston Villa's resolve with a £4 million bid at the turn of the year, which might well appeal to Lambert, who will be looking to avoid losing the influential stopper for nothing.
Van Gaal is likely to face competition for Vlaar's signature, though, with Arsenal also believed to be keeping tabs on the player's situation.
Arsene Wenger failed to recruit a new centre-back following the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona in the summer, and is still light on options in that area of his team at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners boss could move for the Dutchman when the transfer window reopens, which would likely prompt a bidding war between the two Premier League rivals.
Aston Villa would look to use the situation to their advantage, in order to extract as much money as possible for a player reluctant to extend his stay with them.
Old Trafford would probably be Vlaar's preferred destination, with the opportunity to link up with Van Gaal an attractive proposition.