Manchester United are believed to be close to landing Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund for a reported fee of £16 million.
Hummels, who was impressive as Germany triumphed in the 2014 World Cup following their victory against Argentina in the final, has been tipped to leave Dortmund this summer, with Barcelona thought to be leading the race for his signature.
But now Spanish newspaper Sport claims that the Catalan club have pulled out of the race, making Manchester United the favourites to sign the German for €20 million (£16 million).
The report added that United and Dortmund are chalking out the finer details of the deal including bonus payments and add-ons.
The Red Devils, who endured a very disappointing campaign under former boss David Moyes last season, will certainly be boosted by the addition of Hummels as they were desperately hunting for a new centre-back following the departures of Nemanja Vidic (Inter Milan) and Rio Ferdinand (Queens Park Rangers).
Despite all the speculations of United being close to securing Hummels' signature, Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp still insists that the defender and star playmaker Marco Reus will not be leaving the Westfalenstadion this summer, while rubbishing the transfer figure quoted for Hummels.
"Both will stay here this season. There is no tendency they'd want to be elsewhere," said Klopp, according to the Daily Mirror. "Did they also say €20m? When papers mention such numbers you know it's garbage."
Hummels, who joined Dortmund from Bayern Munich for a fee of €4 million in 2009 following a successful loan season, established himself as one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga, forming a brilliant partnership with Serbia centre-back Neven Subotić.
Meanwhile, another German side Wolfsburg have dismissed rumours of Manchester United successfully negotiating a deal with them for the transfer Ricardo Rodriguez.
Earlier reports in Germany had indicated that the Red Devils, who are reportedly targeting Rodriguez as a replacement for their departed left-back Patrice Evra, who has completed a move to Juventus, had already chalked out a deal with the player's agent Roger Wittmann.
However, Wolfsburg's sporting director Klaus Allofs dismissed all speculations, insisting that his side have no plans of selling the Switzerland international.
"That will have been a brief conversation. Ricardo is not going anywhere."Allofs told German publication Kicker.