Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa after agreeing a deal in principle with his club Borussia Dortmund.
The 23-year-old has still to agree personal terms but United expect negotiations to progress smoothly.
The initial fee for Kagawa is in the region of £12m, rising to £17m depending on success and appearances.
“Some details are to be confirmed,” Dortmund director Michael Zorc said.
The expected arrival of Kagawa is likely to excite United’s vast Asian fanbase, with the future of South Korea midfielder Park Ji Sung uncertain.
On Tuesday, United claimed their fanbase had almost doubled in the past five years to reach 659 million “followers” globally. Asia accounts for 325 million of those.
United had hoped to have completed a deal for Eden Hazard, but with the Belgium midfielder opting to pursue a move to Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson has acted swiftly.
Kagawa has shone for Dortmund this season, scoring 13 goals in 31 Bundesliga matches, as the German club won a league and cup double.
Ferguson was present when Kagawa scored in Dortmund’s 5-2 win over Bayern Munich in the German Cup final this month, with the player able to play wide or in a more central role.
Despite Kagawa’s obvious appeal in Asia, United commercial director Richard Arnold denied any suggestion players were signed to boost profits.
He said: “Our popularity in certain countries or regions may depend, at least in part, on fielding certain players from those countries or regions.
“We don’t sign players to sell shirts. We are reliant on 25 players and they are all massive stars. We have 25 George Clooneys.
“When you look at the success we’ve seen in that part of the world [Asia], it isn’t down to any one player or person.
“For Manchester United, it’s more than any one player. It was more than George Best, it was more than Bryan Robson, it was more than David Beckham, it was more than Cantona, than Park.”