Manchester United have emerged as the new favourites to sign Burnley striker Danny Ings this summer, much to the frustration of long-term suitors Liverpool.
According to the Daily Mail, the Red Devils have already held preliminary talks with the Lancashire club regarding the 22-year-old's future, in an attempt to reach a pre-contract agreement to guarantee his transfer to Old Trafford.
Ings is approaching the end of his contract at Turf Moor, but due to his age the Clarets could be set to receive around £5 million in compensation if he were to join another English side at the end of the season.
However, under Premier League Rule U8 a domestic rival can negotiate a fee and sign a pre-contract with the player and his current employers to rubber stamp the deal before the transfer window reopens, and that's exactly what Louis van Gaal is looking to do to steal a march on Brendan Rodgers.
Liverpool tried to sign Ings in January and then loan him back to Burnley for the rest of the 2014/15 campaign, but were blocked by Premier League regulations which meant that the prospective arrangement fell through.
Sean Dyche was adamant that the free-scoring forward would remain at the club for the rest of the season to give his side the best possible chance of avoiding relegation back to the Championship.
With six games to play Burnley are currently 19th - but crucially just two points from safety - so the decision to take a firm stance over Ings could well pay off providing they stay in the top-flight.
But, the Premier League loophole that's being exploited by Manchester United could mean that the fleet-footed forward's future is already determined before Burnley's fate has been sealed, which is likely to frustrate a number of other parties that have also been credited with an interest in the England U21 international.
Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and even David Moyes's Real Sociedad are understood to be among the growing list of admirers, so it's not just Liverpool that face the prospect of disappointment.
Manchester United fans: Do you think Danny Ings would be a good signing for the club this summer? Or do you think Louis van Gaal should focus on a higher-profile player? Share your thoughts below...