Manchester United have less than 24 hours to secure one of the most spectacular signings in recent seasons. Can they do it?
Money talks. And Manchester United proved by signing Juan Mata they do have it to spend if a special player becomes available.
That is exactly what is potentially emerging regarding Toni Kroos of Bayern Munich, with contract talks breaking down regarding the midfielder - with just 18 months remaining.
Kroos' deal runs out at the same time as Wayne Rooney's, yet if United could acquire the German international, they would go a further way to convince their talisman to remain at Old Trafford.
The German has reinvented himself as a deep-lying midfielder this season, and while he has progressed under Pep Guardiola, the manager hardly gave an assurance he would remain - in fact his comments could be taken as quite the opposite.
"He is an important player but things can move fast in football. Here today, gone tomorrow," the Independent reported.
Manchester United manager David Moyes was pictured talking to Kroos' agent over the weekend, and while such mega-deals are rarely concluded in January, the signing of Juan Mata showed everybody they can be, if the right money is offered.
The German transfer deadline closes at 6pm on Friday, placing United's negotiating team under increased pressure to turn the transfer around.
Guardiola already has an embarrassment of riches in midfield, and was recently reported to be struggling to fit €40 million man Javi Martinez in.
Kroos, 24, is simply a must-have for United. With a passing accuracy of 92.8 per cent, he has five assists and one goal to his name. Last season from a more attacking role he scored six times, including a goal against Arsenal at the Emirates in the Champions League.
While time is ticking down, United, buoyed by the success of Mata's arrival, should go all out to sign Kroos over the next 24 hours. Failing to do so would make finishing outside the top four more of a risk, and in turn - their chances of signing him in the summer more difficult.
image: © dullhunk