Manchester United are reportedly preparing for another summer filled with star signings, and according to the Daily Star's Colin Harvey, Bayern Munich's Mario Gotze sits near the top of Louis van Gaal's transfer wish list.
The 2014 World Cup hero should cost the Red Devils close to £50 million, with Champions League qualification considered a must if the Mancunians are to have any chance of convincing the 22-year-old to join.
Gotze joined the Bavarians from rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and struggled through much of his first season with the German giants, but he appeared to be turning the corner by the end of the campaign.
An impressive performance at the 2014 World Cup wiped out any and all doubts the youngster was on the verge of becoming an absolute star, and he concluded his tournament by scoring the winning goal in the final against Argentina.
This season, he has become a regular under manager Pep Guardiola, starting 11 Bundesliga contests and scoring seven goals in the process, via WhoScored.com. Among his goals was this absolute beauty against Hoffenheim, via Football Vines:
The Germany international is quickly establishing himself as one of the world's top attacking midfielders, and there's little doubt Van Gaal would be interested in a player of his caliber.
Whether Bayern Munich would even entertain the idea of a sale is another matter. The Bavarians have already sanctioned the sale of a similar talent in Xherdan Shaqiri, as revealed by club president Franz Beckenbauer, via Manchester Evening News' David Lynch:
Bayern have already sent out a signal and indicated to him that he can probably go in the winter break, when he wants. Personally, I want players who want to stay here with us, for me if a player doesn’t want to be here then it’s right he go to another club.
I think it’s a shame because he is a great talent.
If the Germans would rather not lose the talented Shaqiri—watching Gotze leave the club as well would be devastating. Bayern have done an excellent job of keeping their top performers at the club in recent years, and it would be a surprise not to see them fight tooth and nail for Gotze.
Harvey believes Van Gaal will be given a "£200 million war chest" to replicate the success the Red Devils had during the summer of 2014, which saw the likes of Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind join the club.
Fitting Gotze into the current lineup would be tricky, however. Van Gaal has preferred to use a single attacking midfielder behind two strikers so far, and team captain Wayne Rooney is the designated starter behind an in-form Falcao and Robin van Persie.
A more traditional 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 could see Gotze slide into Marouane Fellaini's position, adding a new attacking dynamic and plenty of movement to the Red Devils' midfield.
To convince Bayern to sell, the offer will have to be substantial, and if the German continues to live up to the lofty standards he has laid out for himself during the 2014-15 season, even £50 million might not be enough.
Gotze may be high on Van Gaal's wish list but much will have to happen between now and the summer transfer window for that to translate into an actual transfer.