Manchester United are hopeful that they can persuade midfielder Arturo Vidal to move to Old Trafford from Juventus, either this month or in the summer.
The Premier League champions have made initial contact about purchasing the Chilean, who earns less than five million euros a year [around 130,000 pounds-a-week] in Turin after tax, and could be prepared to make him one of their highest earners if they boost his wages.
But any United offer would also have to be enough to overcome Vidal's admiration for both the Italian champions and head coach Antonio Conte -- he turned down Bayern Munich to go to Juventus -- while there is also the potential complication of United failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Despite manager David Moyes insisting again on Sunday that it is proving difficult to purchase players in the January window, United sources have told ESPN FC there is some optimism that at least one deal can be completed before next Friday’s transfer deadline.
While Vidal is the sort of player Moyes is prepared to wait on, United have also kept tabs on his Juventus teammate Claudio Marchisio and Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye and revived their interest in Roma's Miralem Pjanic.
They are also looking at what a source described as a "series of options in Spain," with one believed to be Atletico Madrid's Koke, who has interested them since the summer.
In addition, United are continuing to weigh up the possibility of a bid for Chelsea's Juan Mata -- as reported by ESPN earlier this month -- with a deal possibly moving closer.
While any such move would involve United breaking their transfer record -- with figures of around 40 million pounds being mooted -- United officials are said to have been jolted into the action by the urgency of the situation after Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Previously, Old Trafford insiders had been concerned that club officials were too rigid in sticking to a policy of refusing to "pay over the odds" in terms of fees and wages, even though that was required in the case of many of the players United have pursued since June.
Any deal for Mata would involve a marked departure from that, and it is understood officials are now willing for that to happen. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, however, will have the final say over whether the Spanish playmaker leaves.