World Cup winner Benedikt Howedes has impressed this season in the Bundesliga, catching the eye of the Premier League giants Manchester United and Arsenal according to reports.
The versatile 26-year-old, who has two years left on his current contract at Schalke, is predominantly a centre-back but can also play at left-back, where he played at the recent World Cup.
Manchester United have lacked a world-class defender since the departure of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand last season, even though they are third and have only conceded 23 goals. They have come under a lot of scrutiny this season from fans and pundits; defence is a position in which Van Gaal will certainly be looking to strengthen in the summer after not making a big name signing in January.
Arsenal have a strong defence with high profile internationals Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny within their ranks. Prior to the North London derby they had not conceded a goal in the Premier League since New Year's day.
Despite the Gunners signing £11.3m rated Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal in the recent transfer window, Wenger is keeping his eye on possible defensive targets.
The London based side have been making regular checks on Howedes, with the most recent being the 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich.
It will be very important from now up until the end of the season how Koscielny gets on with his on going Achilles problem, as this could decide whether manager Wenger needs to strengthen in the summer.