Manchester United's need for a midfield leader has reached breaking point, with the gradually worsening situation of recent seasons reaching its most critical state during David Moyes' first season in charge of the club.
Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan is coming upon a similar crossroads himself, albeit one of altogether more positive connotations, and it's something the Red Devils should be hoping to take advantage of.
The German international's commitment, or perhaps lack thereof, has become an increasing concern at Signal Iduna Park, with his current contract set to expire next summer and no new deal agreed just yet.
As The Mirror's David Anderson reports, Gundogan's contract negotiations were put on hold while he recovered from injury during the first half of this season, but now that he's back in action, the club are keen to tie their man down.
Anderson quotes the Black and Yellows' sporting director Michael Zorc as saying:
"For Ilkay, the most important thing is that he gets well first. But we will soon have discussions with him and his family. We have a very good relationship with them."
As one of the rising stars in the German national team, it's not difficult to see why Juergen Klopp's side may be so eager to agree an extension with their starlet, but it's of equal importance that United capitalise upon what could a terrific mistake on Dortmund's part.
Last summer saw Mario Goetze's release clause activated by Bayern Munich and a move following several months later, per FIFA.com, while BBC Sport announced earlier this month that Robert Lewandowski, one of Klopp's other superstars, would be following that path as a free transfer.
Those deals would appear to have shown that, despite their reputation as being one of Europe's fastest risers in recent years, Dortmund, like everyone else, have their lapses in resolve.
The Mirror's Ed Malyon believes that, with Real Madrid out of the market for such a talent, the time is now for United:
With Real Madrid not buying a midfielder in Jan, Man United have a clear run at Gundogan, it's now or never IMO http://t.co/792AvadEu4— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) January 11, 2014
This particular deal is a chance for Moyes to assert the old sense of dominance that some feel has been lost at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.
Is Gundogan what's needed at Old Trafford?
Gundogan has played only one Bundesliga match this term, but his progress prior to a serious back injury was highly encouraging.
A balanced midfield asset with qualities both on the physical side of things and when pulling the creative string with ball at his feet, the 23-year-old fits the bill in regards to what's needed by the Red Devils right now.
With the club currently in seventh spot in the Premier League and Moyes having begun his United career in less than amicable fashion, it would seem there's nowhere else but up at this stage.
And with that mentality in mind, Gundogan could be a part of the building blocks upon which the new foundations at Old Trafford are built.
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