Manchester United are lining up a replacement option for the January transfer window if they fail to sign one of Arturo Vidal or Kevin Strootman from Juventus and Roma respectively.
Strootman is a personal favourite of Louis Van Gaal, and the Manchester United manager is desperate to land the Netherlands international in January to bolster his midfield.
However, Roma have, time and again, come out and said Strootman is not for sale, and the only way they would even remotely consider selling the midfielder would be if Manchester United paid nearly £75 million.
While there is little chance of Manchester United bidding that kind of amount for a defensive midfielder, the English Premier League club have been encouraged in their pursuit of Vidal.
Recent reports have suggested Juventus are keen to offload the Chile international, following off-field issues.
Manchester United, though, face competition from the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund for the all-action midfielder's signature, and therefore Van Gaal is keeping an eye on Ilkay Gundogan, according to the Daily Express.
The Dortmund midfielder recently returned to action after a long-term injury, playing for the club's reserves side. The Germany international also revealed his intention to return to first-team football as soon as possible.
"I am now available," Gundogan told Sky Sports Germany. "The plan is that I am fully integrated into the team as soon as the national players are back.
"I am assuming that I am in the squad on the weekend against FC Cologne."
That will be good news for Dortmund, but also for the midfielder's admirers, of which there are many. Gundogan has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea in the past, but United are ready to steal a march by going in for the 23-year-old, if his return from injury goes as planned.
Gundogan is the kind of player who can play both as a defensive screener and a deep-lying playmaker, his preferred position, and any team would be stronger with him in the team.
It remains to be seen, which player Manchester United make a run for during the January transfer window.