Manchester United will believe they can finally land Mats Hummels after watching Borussia Dortmund lurch deeper into crisis.
The World Cup-winning defender confronted angry fans on Wednesday night, following a 1-0 home defeat to Augsburg.
Dortmund are rooted to the foot of the Bundesliga and face a battle to avoid relegation.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have only won once in their last 10 games in all competitions.
Fans were incensed following their latest defeat - prompting Hummels and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller to try to placate them.
The dramatic scenes at the Westfalenstadion will only strengthen belief within Old Trafford that the they can secure the 26-year-old in the summer.
Louis van Gaal is planning a £35m move for the centre back, who has previously resisted all attempts to lure him away from Dortmund.
In face of the 2011 and 2012 German title winners’ struggles this season, he claimed he claimed: "I don’t need to play in the Champions League to be happy."
But it is highly unlikely he would be prepared to drop out of the top flight - while Dortmund would be under pressure to cash-in if relegated.
For now Hummels has vowed to fight for survival.
“We’re always chasing games,” he said. “What’s missing is us taking the lead so that we can then sit back and play on the counter.
“We’re all aware that we’ve got to fight in the next 15 games. Playing attractive football will just be a bonus, yet we are still expected to play that kind of football.
“We know that 98 per cent will be about fighting, the other two will be about loosening up so that we start making the right decisions in the final third.”