Manchester United are in pole position to sign Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven at the end of the season, with the attraction of Louis van Gaal, the Dutch winger's former national coach, and the greater prospect of Champions League football putting the club ahead of Liverpool.
The potential price for Depay, who is a Holland international, is likely to be in the region of £25m.
Liverpool could still qualify for the Champions League. Yet this is appears an outside hope as Brendan Rodgers’s team are seven points behind Manchester City with six matches of their season left, though Liverpool have played a match less than the champions.
Van Gaal is familiar with Depay as he gave the 21-year-old his international debut two years ago, and selected him for Holland’s squad at last summer’s World Cup in Brazil. At the finals Depay scored a memorable winner in their 3-2 victory over Australia after coming on as a substitute in a group game.
Despite operating, in the main, as a wide player Depay has scored 20 goals in 27 Eredivisie appearances for PSV this term. This makes him the leading scorer in the Dutch top-flight and is a return that was instrumental in PSV being crowned champions on Sunday for the first time in seven years.
United have a good relationship with PSV in the transfer market, having signed two of their best-ever players, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Jaap Stam, from the Dutch club.
The former Ajax, Barcelona and Holland midfielder Ronald de Boer felt Van Gaal had the edge in the race to sign the winger.
“I don’t want to say which club is more suitable for him, but if he goes to United he knows there is a Dutch coach there who knows him from the World Cup. That is an advantage,” he told Talksport.