Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is weighing up a January move for Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen, hoping to take advantage of uncertainty surrounding the Belgian international's future at White Hart Lane.
Vertonghen is a proven Premier League performer but has cut a frustrated figure at White Hart Lane this season, failing to strike up a strong understanding with new manager Mauricio Pochettino as a result.
Pochettino dropped the 27-year-old for Tottenham's last Premier League game against Stoke City and for that reason The Mirror believe United are primed to make a January offer for the versatile defender, despite having far more affordable alternatives within their grasp.
£18 million a minimum asking price
Tottenham are in a strong negotiating position if United do table a formal offer for Vertonghen when the transfer window opens, with his current contract still having well over three years left to run.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will not entertain allowing arguably Tottenham's most talented defender to leave for anything less than £18 million, but that stance hasn't deterred Van Gaal one bit.
Article continues below
Next six weeks could prove crucial
Vertonghen's next move will come down to whether Pochettino decides he's deserving a consistent starting spot between now and January.
In fairness the athletic central defender, who is also equally adept at left-back, has started six of Tottenham's first 11 Premier League games this season, but that won't be enough for a man who burst onto the English scene in tremendous fashion back in 2012.
Van Gaal has been a fan for some time
Van Gaal has been a keen admirer of Vertonghen's dating back to his time with Ajax, which means that if he's made available for transfer United will likely ditch any interest in Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar or West Ham United stopper Winston Reid.
United would rather pay a premium for a player Van Gaal desperately wants than settle on any short-term fix, which suddenly makes Vertonghen's proposed move to Old Trafford look very much on the cards.