Having been linked with central defenders Sergio Ramos and Nicolas Otamendi all summer it seems Manchester United’s chances of signing either are now all but nil.
The Daily Star report the Red Devils feel betrayed by Real Madrid man Ramos, expected to sit down for new contract discussions at Santiago Bernabeu imminently.
A ‘United source’ of the paper’s suggests that they player, or those connected to him may have been using Old Trafford interest as leverage for a new deal at Real.
Gossip column devotees would be forgiven for expecting such a turn of events to signify a move to bring Valencia man Otamendi to Manchester instead.
However, the Manchester Evening News have exclusively revealed that the Argentina international is not among the names under consideration.
Despite the fact that the Reds have supposedly been attempting to recruit a world-class centre-half since Louis van Gaal arrived at the club, they have little need to feel demoralised at these latest developments.
Indeed, even if they don’t sign a stopper of a similar ilk in the remainder of the window there will be little cause for concern.
Why? Not least because they had one of the four tightest defences in the Premier League last season, shipping one more than Arsenal and one less than Manchester City.
In fact if the five strikes given up in the omnishambolic early-season loss to Leicester were stricken from the record they’d have had the division’s best rearguard.
Last season the Reds’ defensive probity was undermined by the infirmity of deep-midfield screen Michael Carrick – they conceded an average of 0.69 goals a game when he played.
Compare that to Chelsea’s 2014/15 division-best average of 0.82.
The arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin, the Carrick figure for second-tightest 2014/15 defenders Southampton last term, should ensure that United’s goals-against column suffers a great deal less in the veteran’s absence next season.