Manchester United have seized the initiative in the fiercely-competitive race to sign Bayern Munich star David Alaba.
Alaba, 28, is out of contract next summer and has failed to agree to a new deal with Bayern, with the player's salary demands driving a wedge between him and the club.
The Austrian defender is also a target for Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, while Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have long been linked swoops of their own.
But United are hopeful they can beat the host of rival suitors to sign Alaba on a pre-contract in the January transfer window.
Red Devils chiefs have spoken to Alaba's agent, Pini Zahavi, as they strive to thrash out terms ahead of a potential arrival at Old Trafford next summer.