Manchester United received the first indication from Bayern Munich that they are prepared to sell Owen Hargreaves last night when the German club's president, Franz Beckenbauer, admitted they would have to consider a bid in the region of £17m for the England international.
Sir Alex Ferguson has been frustrated in his efforts to add the midfielder to his championship-chasing squad this season, with relations between the 1999 European Cup finalists at an all-time low due to United's refusal to accept Bayern's desire to keep a player who penned a lucrative new contract only last year.
However, with Hargreaves continuing to agitate for a move to Old Trafford and United prepared to pay between £15m-£17m to land the player during the transfer window, Beckenbauer has offered encouragement to Ferguson by admitting Bayern would be willing to trade at that price.
The Bayern president said: "If the offer that is being talked about really is true then we will have to think about it. If a player has signed a new contract with us, then tries to move for more money, we are within our rights to say no, but this is different and if we do receive an offer on the scale that has been mentioned, we will have to give it serious consideration."
United manager Ferguson recently confirmed he would not be discouraged in his pursuit of Hargreaves.