Manchester United believe they have made significant advancements in their pursuit of Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos, sources close to Old Trafford have told ESPN FC.
After two months of negotiations, the United hierarchy is now confident the principles of an agreement are in place for the 24-year-old to become the first of potentially six high-profile signings.
Kroos is about to move into the final year of his contract at Bayern, with the two parties way apart on terms. That may mean the German Double winners could consider selling the player this summer rather than see him possibly leave for free 12 months later.
United also remain extremely hopeful of bringing in Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, despite talks having been slow.
Although Bayern will resist the transfer of Kroos, and there is every chance the saga could rumble on until after the World Cup, those two players are currently seen as the most likely to join out of an extensive list of high-profile targets.
Louis van Gaal, whose appointment as successor to David Moyes was confirmed on Monday, has a significant rebuilding job with several players moving on and Ryan Giggs, who will be his No. 2, also hanging up his boots. United plan to spend at least 150 million pounds improving four key areas: central midfield, central defence, left-back and overall squad pace.
Van Gaal's interest in Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels is widely known, and the club have themselves tracked their midfielder Marco Reus for some time. There remains a degree of difficulty in extracting either player from the Westfalenstadion with the club having lost several high-profile players, such as Roberto Lewandowski and Mario Goetze, to Bayern.
Surprisingly, United may enjoy more success in bringing in one of Arturo Vidal from Juventus or Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas. While there is a belief that the Chilean midfielder can be secured relatively cheaply in relation to his standing, Barca may also be "open-minded" about offers for Fabregas.
Fabregas is not strictly for sale, but Barca will consider approaches. Sources have stated that both United and Arsenal have been made aware of the situation.