Manchester United are plotting a sensational double swoop for La Liga duo Pepe and Dani Alves, according to reports.
The Red Devils are short of options at the back and have suffered badly with injuries this term, exposing manager Louis van Gaal's decision not to sign a top class centre-back over the summer in the process.
They look short of options at right-back too with Rafael the only senior option at right-back, with winger Antonio Valencia filling in at full-back for their latest game, a 2-1 win over rivals Arsenal.
Alevs is out of contract in the summer at Barcelona and that will likely spark a fierce transfer tussle in the new year. However Van Gaal's connection with Barcelona may give Manchester United the advantage; he's already got Victor Valdes training with the club following his departure from the Bernabeu and could lure the Brazilian too.
Pepe meanwhile may be sold in the summer in order to make room for young French defender Raphael Varane to take his place in the Real Madrid back line, which will bring the Red Devils into the equation once more. Equally it will spell the end of Chelsea's pursuit of Varane.
Pepe still has two years left on his contract so will command a sizeable fee, although it wil be difficult for Van Gaal to put a price on the Portuguese ace's experience and quality, both of which is lacking at the back for Manchester United as things stand.
They may not have it all their own way however; Manchester City are said to be looking at Pepe too, while Juventus are in the running for Alves. However the Brazilian has previously hinted he would prefer to make the move to England, which once more gives Manchester United an advantage.
Both deals are more likely to take place in the summer rather than in the January window. Previously executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has suggested that Manchester United won't be active in the winter window; sentiments echoed by Van Gaal.
“When you buy it has to be a player better than you have in your squad and it shall be very difficult to find such a player in January," he said last week. "So that is what he wanted to say and I believe we are speaking the same language.”