Manchester United are prepared to outbid Arsenal or any other top European club to sign Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, but will probably have to wait until next summer to make it happen.
That is according to the Daily Mail, who believe that United are desperate to make the World Cup winner their new defensive linchpin and will shun the chance to sign a central defender in January as a a result.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal already has a host of central defenders on his books, but will make room for Hummels if he's available and hopes that Dortmund's truly shocking start to the season helps him close a priority transfer at the end of the season.
How much will Hummels cost?
United may be dead set on finally landing Hummels as the long-term replacement for departed defensive stalwarts Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, but they have to persuade Dortmund to do business first.
Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp is under pressure after winning just four of his first 14 games in the Bundesliga this season, which may force in hand in terms of selling top start if it means he's unable to deliver Champions League qualification for next season.
Arsenal likely to miss out
The only obstacle blocking a huge bid from United proving successful is most likely strong interest from Premier League rivals Arsenal, who quite clearly need a new centre-back to shore up a leaky backline that has been targeted by opponents with great success consistently this season.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny need help and Hummels more than fits the bill, but it remains to be seen if Wenger will come anywhere close to paying the massive fee Dortmund will surely command to cushion the blow of losing their skipper if pressed.
United have proved since Van Gaal took charge that they're not afraid to pay a premium for the players they're experience Dutch tactician asks for, expect Hummels to be the first player they target the moment the current campaign concludes.