Manchester United are reportedly keen to complete the double signing of Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred before the World Cup begins next month, with both players representing their countries in Russia.
United were already known to be targeting the pair, who would have a likely combined cost in the region of £100m, in an attempt to strengthen key positions ahead of next season. But a report from The Times has now revealed the urgent timescale behind the deals.
Talks with Spurs over 29-year-old Alderweireld were reported to have begun earlier this week, although the apparent opening response from Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was to slap a £75m price tag on the Belgium international.
The Times notes that even a reduction on that figure could still top £50m, despite Alderweireld being available for just £25m next summer when a release clause becomes active.
It is said that United have at least 'gained encouragement' after Spurs 'privately accepted' that they would allow Alderweireld to join a rival Premier League club, whereas before they were only prepared to sell him to a foreign buyer.
Securing the Alderweireld deal is likely to be a battle of intense negotiations, but it is thought that United will have a much easier time landing emerging Brazil star Fred. An Italian report claimed that a £44m deal has been agreed, though The Times suggests it will be closer to £52m.
The hope is that the 25-year-old will be able undergo a medical next week as the Brazil squad will be in the country ahead of a World Cup warm up friendly against Croatia at Anfield.
It has been suggested that United's expected capture of Fred is one of the reasons they are willing to give up on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been valued at an £87.5m by Lazio.