Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has started planning his transfer business for January by earmarking Christian Eriksen as a key target to boost their midfield.
Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Eriksen has just one year to run on his contact and would be able to leave White Hart Lane on a free transfer next summer.
But with United making an unspectacular start to the season which has included just one victory in their opening four matches and with limited squad depth in the middle of the pitch, Solskjaer may look to act early, as per Mail Sport.
Lack of depth
United lost Ander Herrera to French champions Paris Saint Germain this summer after five years with the team.
Belgian Marouane Fellaini had also left for pastures new in January, swapping Manchester for Shangdong Luneng in China.
They made some solid signings with defenders Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire joining from Crystal Palace and Leicester City respectively while they also added Swansea City winger Daniel James to the squad.
Yet despite being linked with numerous players, including Sean Longstaff of Newcastle and the unsuccessful pursuit of Bruno Fernandes, Solskjaer did not replace either Herrera or Fellaini like-for- like and United have looked short in midfield.
Eriksen's gifts to any side are many and varied, scoring goals on a consistent basis from his midfield berth with 49 in 206 outings, only once finishing a season at White Hart Lane (2015-16) with fewer than 10 strikes.
He has chipped in for Denmark too, hitting the back of the net 27 times in 89 appearances for his country.
His game is about far more than goals though and he brings a calming influence to the rest of his colleagues both further forward and at the back and has the ability to change the game with a pinpoint pass.
United have struggled to get the most out of their midfield for a number of seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, with the ongoing enigma of unlocking star man Paul Pogba to unleash his full potential the primary concern.
Nemanja Matic is on a downward trend, Jesse Lingard off-form and Scott McTominay growing into his role, but adding Eriksen to the equation could be a smart move.
Eriksen was frustrated that his future was not sorted out earlier in the summer as a move to Real Madrid was hotly tipped and was in the balance up until the end of the European transfer window on Monday.
Premier League clubs only had until the day before the season started on 9th August to confirm their incoming transfers but European teams could poach players for an extra three weeks.
The Dane began his career in the Netherlands at Ajax after progressing from their youth team where he appeared in 113 league games and contributed 25 goals.
He was signed by André Villas-Boas in 2013 in Tottenham's transfer frenzy after the sale of Gareth Bale and was also managed by Tim Sherwood when he took over in December that year.
Time running out
Players with less than six months remaining on their current deal can start talking to other clubs and can agree a pre-contract agreement from January for next summer if they have not signed new terms.
United are likely to face competition from Real Madrid again for his signature as well as Italian giants Inter Milan.
Eriksen is among several players in this situation, with United's David De Gea and promising Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi also in a position where they could leave their clubs for free in the next summer window.