Those in the business of circulating transfer gossip have required little encouragement to link any player with world-class pedigree to Manchester United this summer.
Of the multitude of alleged targets only Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger have been recruited by the Old Trafford club.
On the surface, four buys paints the picture of a busy pre-season, but if the theories and musings of the rumourologists were to make the transition from fanciful to fact, here’s how the Red Devils might’ve lined up in the new season.
The 5/1 saying Louis van Gaal’s side win the Premier League would’ve shrivelled in tandem with United’s bank account had all of these perma-linked superstars been brought in.
Yet even an XI comprised of supposed ‘targets’ barely does the full quota of those thought to be on United’s shortlist justice.
In goal, for instance, there has been any number of alternatives to Hugo Lloris suggested.
Asmir Begovic, Jasper Cillessen and, most recently Sergio Romero are among the hordes of net minders said to have taken Van Gaal’s fancy, while the plethora of centre-halves linked has prompted the utilisation of a full-back-less formation.
This has left no place for the likes of Nathaniel Clyne or Seamus Coleman.
Elsewhere, dictionary definition balderdash had to be overlooked too, discounting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller from what would be a football force of groundbreaking ferocity.