By Paul Clennnam
Manchester City are preparing to make their move for Marco Reus as the race for the Borussia Dortmund forward hots up, Goal has learned.
A €25 million (£18m) release clause will be activated in Reus' contract at the end of the season, a fact mischievously brought to light by Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.
Bayern have signed Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund in acrimonious circumstances in recent seasons, and in August CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge discussed Reus' previously secret buy-out option in an interview with Germany's biggest newspaper.
Rummenigge's claims not only sparked fury in north west Germany but also a Europe-wide transfer scramble to rival any of the recent era.
Dortmund had been hoping to tie Reus to a new deal, which would remove the buy-out clause and extend his stay beyond 2017, but revealed this week that they have shelved talks to concentrate on their poor domestic form.
*Bundesliga stats (Opta)
Bayern have continued to talk publicly about Reus' future throughout the season, and after stating their intent to pursue the buy-out option are regarded as favourites to secure his signing.
|VIEW FROM GERMANY|
|By Daniel Buse | Goal Germany
From his point of view, 2014 must feel like a disappointing year for Marco Reus. He was aiming to win the World Cup with Germany in Brazil, only to pick up an ankle injury in the last friendly prior to the tournament against Armenia.
After having come back in August he suffered another blow in an EC qualifier against Scotland in September, when he injured that same ankle again.
After another comeback this month he is still trying to regain his form but the signs are encouraging: a fabolous strike against Galatasaray in last week's Champions League match showed that he is coming back strongly even if Dortmund continue to struggle domestically.
The current crisis at BVB is also the reason why he refuses to comment on his personal situation.
A host of Premier League sides are known to be interested in signing the 25-year-old, with Liverpool the latest club to be linked in the British press.
But Manchester City have been tracking the Germany international for the past five years, going back to his time at Borussia Monchengladbach, and director of football Txiki Begiristain has now made him top priority alongside Everton's Ross Barkley.
The Premier League champions believe Reus' talent alone would make him the biggest signing since Sergio Aguero arrived in 2011, but are also aware that warding off interest from a host of powerful clubs would send a statement of intent.
While club insiders are wary that Bayern remain in pole position to secure a deal, there is hope that Reus, a boyhood Dortmund fan, would snub a deal so as not to alienate the club's supporters.
Spanish champions Atletico Madrid had appeared to be on the verge of clinching Reus' signature during the summer, only for president Enrique Cerezo to come out and claim that there was no chance of a deal with his club because the player had already rejected a big-money offer from Manchester United.
That came a day after honorary Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer had said he expected Reus to join a club like United or Real Madrid, should he not make the move to Bavaria.
Reus missed his country's successful World Cup campaign with an ankle injury sustained on the eve of the tournament, and also missed seven Dortmund matches this season with a second ligament problem sustained in September.