Reports coming out of Italy suggest Manchester United have been given the go ahead to bid for Roma midfield pair Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan.
The pair formed a revelatory midfield three in 2013/14 , along with fellow long-time United target Kevin Strootman, as the Giallorossi produced an unexpected surge to second in Serie A under Rudi Garcia and have lost little of their credibility in a more prosaic year for the club this time around.
Il Messaggero report Roma will be forced to sell the pair, valued at a combined £66m, in order to comply with Financial Fair Play rules, offering United the chance to bolster their squad with two players who have a pre-existing understanding.
History is replete with such wholesale transfer raids and bulk buys, some more successful than others…
Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Thibaut Costa (returning long-term loanee) – Atletico Madrid to Chelsea
Jose Mourinho was evidently so impressed with the Los Colchoneros side that bounced his Blues from the Champions League at the semi-final stage in 2013/14 that he set about breaking it up and exporting it to west London.
Chelsea were also linked with moves for Atleti’s Koke and Tiago during the summer that preceded the aforementioned trio’s transplant straight into what was to become the 2014/15 Premier League champions.
A similarity of playing style (incredibly well-organised and defensively sound) between Mourinho and the Spaniards’ coach Diego Simeone undoubtedly aided the smooth transition.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren – Southampton to Liverpool
Anfield’s attempt at the summer one-club bulk buy was as disappointing as Chelsea’s was fruitful.
All were vital parts of Mauricio Pochettino’s expectation-defying Saints first team in 2013/14, yet none has come close to laying claim to such a role on Merseyside.
Lallana has been too injury-prone and Lovren too error-prone, while Lambert has floundered in a side whose game plan is not tailored to his own individual talents and shortcomings.
Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars – Arsenal to Barcelona
Freshly-elected Barca president Joan Gaspart was the brains behind the double swoop for two of the stars of the Gunners’ 1997/98 double-winning side taking them to Camp Nou for a combined £30m in the summer of 2000.
Trophies were conspicuous by their absence across both men’s tenures in Catalunya. Petit lasted a solitary underused season, before being sold off to Chelsea, while Overmars began to lose favour in his second campaign, lasting a further two injury-plagued years before being his body forced him to retire.