Manchester United are considering a January move for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to further improve his squad.
Following a disastrous start to the season for the Red Devils, additions to the squad could be made as soon as the winter window given Solskjaer retains the backing of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
United are aware that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is keen to avoid losing Eriksen on a free transfer when his contract ends at the end of the season.
And if United and Tottenham can agree a cut-price fee for the Denmark international, then he will move to Old Trafford at the start of 2020.
United considered a £70 million ($86mi) move for Eriksen during the summer transfer window but were not convinced he was willing to join them as he held out for a transfer to Real Madrid.
That is just one of several obstacles to be overcome for any deal to be completed.
Eriksen is understood to prefer a move to Spain and ideally Real Madrid, and United’s current standing is well behind other traditionally big European sides.
There is also the likelihood that the playmaker may have to compromise on the level of wages he could otherwise demand as a player moving on a free transfer.
One factor potentially in United’s favour is the uncertain future of Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.
Los Blancos have failed to click under their three-time Champions League winning manager since his return to the club in March, and pressure is mounting after a transfer window that saw over £300m ($369m) spent on new players.
If Zidane were to depart before the end of the current season it could lead to a change in transfer targets at Santiago Bernabeu.
Despite reports that United wish to tie down Paul Pogba to a new contract, also to Real Madrid, Eriksen could be a direct replacement for the discontented France midfielder, who continues to be linked with a move to the Spanish club.
Pogba’s current contract runs until 2021 and includes the option for an extra year, but given the ex-Juventus star’s commercial value and the number of high-profile players to have left clubs for free in recent years, United are keen to tie him down sooner rather than later.
The 26-year-old made his return to first-team action on Wednesday against Rochdale in the Carabao Cup, and faced criticism from fans for failing to take part in the decisive penalty shootout.
It has since emerged, however, that Pogba aggravated an ankle injury during the clash and is now a doubt for Monday’s visit of Arsenal to Old Trafford.