Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal handed Ed Woodward a shortlist of four top transfer targets when he agreed to take over as Red Devils boss back in May, but £63.9 million man Angel di Maria wasn't included and neither was Arturo Vidal.
Van Gaal instead wanted a quartet of German stars including three men he worked with at Bayern Munich, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller the players he wanted to lead his Old Trafford revolution.
The Sunday Times also think new Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels was the man Van Gaal picked as his new defensive linchpin, but those deals have failed to materialise following Germany's World Cup success and United's sights are now firmly set on landing Di Maria for a quite staggering club-record sum.
Di Maria due at Old Trafford this week
Untied's disappointing start to the season has only heightened the need to add dynamism and urgency in midfield, which means that Red Devils chiefs are now prepared to pay a premium for Di Maria and take their summer spending to a whopping £140m, the priciest in the club's history.
Advanced talks began last weekend and United are now increasingly confident they can agree a deal over a fee and personal terms before the transfer window slams shut, but don't expect their business to end there.
Who else could United sign?
Van Gaal's injury-hit squad also desperately needs experience added in central defence, with just three fit recognised players in the position and that includes youngster Tyler Blackett.
Unfortunately for United there are a serious shortage of top central defenders available on the market, with Roma's want-away talisman Mehdi Benatia the most likely addition at this late stage.
Benatia would cost around £30m though, with executive-vice president Woodward now under intense pressure to get deals done in the next seven days and make sure United have a team capable of earning an instant return to the Champions League.
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