Manchester United's chief scout Peter Braund was photographed watching Hoffenheim this weekend with Bild claiming his eyes were firmly on Roberto Firmino.
The 23-year-old has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League in the past, but committed his future to the Bundesliga outfit last summer by extending his contract. A year later and now Hoffenheim are preparing to cash in on their star player with a €30m bid believed to be enough.
Firmino, an attacking midfielder, came to fruition last season after scoring 16 goals and assisting a further 11 in 33 Bundesliga starts. He also scored an incredible six goals and assisted four in just four German Cup games.
Another fine season
This season has been less fruitful for Firmino, but his fine form has been rewarded with his first senior caps for Brazil; he scored in a friendly against Austria in November. He has still scored a respectable six goals and assisted seven in what has been a difficult season for the club.
Despite a drop in form, Manchester United have not been put off and could well be prepared to meet Hoffenheim's asking price. The Red Devils are preparing for another summer spending spree with Old Trafford officials handing Louis van Gaal a £150 million transfer budget.
Plenty of interest
It may take more than just money to win the race for Firmino, however, with Bild reporting last week that a host of English clubs are tracking the player. Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea were all credited with an interest in battling Manchester United for his signature.
Manchester United have more money than all of their Premier League rivals, but key to signing him will be offering him first team football and the chance to play in the Champions League.
Who should he join?
Chelsea are virtually guaranteed a top four finish this season, but none of Arsenal, United or Liverpool can say the same. Firmino's final decision must rest on who qualifies for Europe's top tier competition.
It will also be a case of who can offer him the most guarantees over first team football. Van Gaal has already struggled to fit Juan Mata into the current line-up so it is hard to see a place for Firmino unless the Spaniard leaves.
Liverpool's attacking-midfield position is usurped by Philippe Coutinho while Arsenal have Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere. Needless to say, none of the clubs look likely to move this summer.
Where do you think Roberto Firmino could join? Give us your thoughts in the comments box below!
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