Manchester United are desperate to sign a world class central midfielder this coming summer, so they can ill afford to blow their money on an injury-prone crock.
That's the dilemma which stares them in the face amid reports Ilkay Gundogan is primed for a transfer away from Borussia Dortmund this summer.
The German midfielder has had a nightmare 2013/14, struck by a combination of injuries and illness, and has played a total of just 56 minutes in the Bundesliga all season.
The Mail reported yesterday that United were 'on alert' after Gundogan's father told German magazine Kicker that he is 'open' to moving on in the summer.
Dortmund even signed a similar player to Gundogan at the end of the transfer window in Serbian Player of the Year, Milos Jojic, hinting they are preparing for life without him.
In the centre of midfield, if fit, Gundogan at 23 would represent a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, who himself has had an injury-plagued season, and is 11 years older than the Dortmund star.
The fact United's rivals to sign the midfielder come in Real Madrid and Barcelona tells you everything you need to know about his ability, which was grandly showcased in Dortmund's run to the Champions League Final last season.
The upside of Gundogan is tremendous, a player likened in style to Xavi, he's exactly the type of player United need to build their next generation around.
Yet they will be reminded of the last midfielder they bought from the Bundesliga, Owen Hargreaves, a fine footballer but one who managed to contribute just one meaningful season to the club after succumbing to a succession of injuries, which first reared their head at Bayern.
Gundogan presents the biggest risk-reward option the Red Devils could take this summer, and for that reason David Moyes may play it cautious and steer clear.
After all given the bad luck he has overseen this season, the worst case scenario is one he can ill afford.
Would you go for Gundogan, or buy another midfielder instead?
image: © Michael Kranewitter