Manchester United have been reportedly keeping tabs on young German defender Jonathan Tah since the end of 2012.
The tall, rangy defender is considered one of German football’s top talents - and is already a regular in the Bundesliga outfit. The struggling side have recently been trying to ensure their long-term future and success is secure - and to do so they are looking to secure their talented players on long-term deals.
One such player, Hakan Calhanoglu, signed a two year extension this week - and Tah is expected to have an extension until 2018 properly ratified when he turns 18 on the 11th of this month.
The German under-17 international is however the subject of a bitter wrangle over his current deal - which could see him move elsewhere.
United were interested previously, so are likely to be keeping tabs on his situation - Chelsea and Arsenal have also been mentioned in passing.
And they might be able to get him for practically nothing.
He signed the new deal in November last year, as a minor. Under FIFA rules minors are not to sign a deal more than three years in length.
A debate over whether his current deal is valid is what has all the chit-chat re-emerging.
His estranged father has stated this over the potential new deal:
"The contract is only in the interest of the HSV and the consultant - and not in the interest of my son. I should never have him signed with him. I will go to court. According to FIFA rules, the contract is invalid because it is more than three years. This is not allowed for a minor. I will make sure that Adewunmi has nothing to do with my son."
Akeem Adewunmi is the man supposedly acting as Tah’s representative and brokering the new deal.
He is said to be trying to cement a deal until 2018 with a €25m release clause inserted into it. The agent claims:
"The parents have signed and the boy has signed. Thus, the contract is valid. All this is accurate. Jonathan wants to stay until 2018 at HSV. People seem to want to challenge something, where there is nothing to challenge."
With that in mind he is also now a reported target of United’s cross-city rivals Manchester City - and this is a story that looks set to wriggle on.
We will find out on the 11th whether everything is ratified - and if he has signed a first professional contract at the Veltins Arena.
If not - he will be asked if Manchester appeals to him.
image: © tjuel