The prospect of Manchester City squaring up to Barcelona over a pair of marquee transfer targets has been raised in recent days.
On Thursday, the Daily Mail’s Kieran Gill reported that moves for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba and Borussia Dortmund star llkay Gundogan were thought to be at the centre of what Barca club official Susana Monje described as an ‘intense’ summer ahead.
Both are also reportedly ‘targets’ for City, according to the same paper, as they attempt to reupholster an ageing squad for the arrival of new manager Pep Guardiola.
Currently on the periphery of the Premier League title race, there is little doubt that an infusion of quality into what is a surprisingly thin squad in some areas is necessary if the owners ambitions of winning the Champions League are to be realised.
Nowhere is this more the case than in central midfield, where City have lacked impetus for much of the campaign and both Pogba and Gundogan operate.
However, the wisdom of engaging in a prolonged battle with Barcelona for the pair is questionable.
True there are a finite amount of top-class players available at any one time and not at least attempting to sign them would be tantamount to an admission of second-tier-Champions-League-club status.
But, the chances of winning over any player in a tug of war with the best team on the planet are unlikely, with potential signings offered the choice between walking straight in to a dream team, or gambling on the fact that one can be constructed under Guardiola in Manchester.
Failure to snare Pogba or Gundogan after a protracted summer of dealings would mean City have to settle for fallback options, a status quo which has backfired on them before.
After winning the league in 2011/12 they pursued Roberto-Mancini-heartthrob Daniele di Rossi for much of the summer to no avail, eventually bringing in Javi Garcia from Benfica instead.
The Spaniard endured an indifferent two seasons at the Etihad Stadium before being moved on to Zenit St Petersburg.
Perhaps the Citizens would enjoy a more profitable summer window if they didn’t get bogged in rivalling the creme-de-la-creme for the names any Tom, Dick or Harry with half an interest in football knows about and instead focused on finding the players who could reach that level under Guardiola next season?