Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos has been heavily linked with a move away from the club over the past year, with strong suggestions that Manchester United were close to making an offer.
The Red Devils highlighted the German international as the perfect solution to their midfield dilemma, a problem which has arguably existed for the past few seasons.
Last season, without the retired Paul Scholes, it became painfully obvious that United lacked a midfield enforcer who could spot forward passes and drive the team on.
Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, Marouane Fellaini and even natural centre-back Phil Jones all played there under David Moyes last season, but any combination that the former Everton boss tried ultimately failed.
Kroos was named as the man to play that role, and his contract issue with Bayern gave United an advantage as they were reportedly willing to offer him wages which the 24-year-old desired.
Despite Louis van Gaal’s appointed as the Manchester outfit's new manager, Kroos remained a summer target. However, after a huge amount of speculation in the media, it was reported that United had backed out – possibly due to Bayern’s unwillingness to negotiate.
Since then, Kroos has reportedly shown an interest in joining Real Madrid, with reliable Bundesliga expert Jan Aage Fjortoft claiming that the German’s agent has been in touch with the recent Champions League winners.
In most scenarios, this would be a kick in the teeth for United. However, on this occasion, they could in fact be the beneficiaries as a Toni Kroos-Real Madrid deal may open up a move for fellow German international Sami Khedira.
The former VfB Stuttgart midfield-general missed the majority of last season through injury, and the club have imprudently allowed his contract to wind down closer to its 2015 expiry date.
With fellow midfielders Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Angel di Maria, Casemiro, Isco and Asier Illarramendi all vying for starting places, Kroos’ possible arrival could signal the end of Khedira’s Spanish adventure.
Rated at £20 million and unlikely to return to the Bundesliga, the 27-year-old would provide the Red Devils with a cheaper alternative to Kroos, and his will to succeed would undeniably fit in well with the famed United philosophy.