Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is prepared to spend big in January to finally sign his top transfer target, Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels.
Wenger has reluctantly conceded that he desperately needs to spend around £32 million on the World Cup winner to mask big defensive deficiencies in his squad, but Manchester United are also keen and it could down to which Premier League giant offers the most attractive personal terms.
Hummels is no stranger to persistent transfer speculation, one of Europe's finest centre-backs and definitely the kind of commanding presence that both Arsenal and United desperately need in that key position.
Arsenal actually thought they had a deal for Hummels signed and sealed in the summer, but the Daily Mail report that their offer on that occasion didn't exceed £25m and as a result Dortmund rejected all bids and persuaded their new skipper to stay put.
Gunners have funds to land Hummels
Wenger thought Arsenal would be able to cope without Hummels and decided not to increase any summer bid, although an injury crisis coupled with a disappointing start to the season has made that choice look like the wrong one.
The experienced Frenchman clearly agrees and has been told he has the funds to get the player he wants above all others when the window opens, with Dortmund holding out for around £32m.
Will international team-mates help seal the deal?
Arsenal are hoping their trio of German international can help tip the balance, with the chance to feature alongside countrymen Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker and added incentive to finally leave the Bundesliga.
Dortmund for their part will be desperate for Hummels not to join Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze at Bayern Munich if he does decide to move on, which means a blockbuster deal is very much on.
United boss Louis van Gaal could still throw a spanner in the works though, if he's willing to pay a bigger salary to pull of a transfer coup which would rival deals for Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao in terms of importance to the Red Devils.