Manchester United have engineered a remarkable turnaround in their bid to retain their Premier League title.
A little more than a month ago they trailed local rivals Manchester City at the top of the table. Now they hold a five-point lead over them with just five matches of the campaign remaining.
Despite looking once again like the best team in England, a club of United's size and wealth is always going to be linked with a multitude of players, even outside of the two designated transfer windows.
But as Alex Ferguson has learned in the past, not every signing is guaranteed to succeed at Old Trafford, regardless of reputation, ability, medal collection or transfer fee. Juan Sebastian Veron is proof enough of that.
Here are seven players who have been linked to United in the media but may not be best signings the club could make this summer.
It simply wouldn't be a Bleacher Report slideshow about potential Manchester United signings without Wesley Sneijder, would it?
The Inter Milan playmaker was once one of the most prized players in Europe after he helped Inter to the treble and Netherlands to the World Cup final in 2010. Since then, his stock has plummeted following two years marred by injury and poor form.
The player himself revealed that he came close to signing for United—as reported by the Daily Mail—but it is thought his wage demands were too unreasonable. It is hard to imagine that anything has changed in that respect.
The Dutchman now looks set to be offloaded in the summer as Inter sets about rebuilding their squad. Sneijder will be 28 by the time next season rolls around. If Ferguson is looking to sign a player around whom he can build his side for years to come, Sneijder is just just outside of that bracket.
Benfica greatly impressed this season when they held United to two draws, which were hugely significant in eliminating last year's finalists from this season's Champions League.
Key to those two results was Gaitan, whose pace and creativity were more than United's players could handle home or away.
Unsurprisingly, the Argentinian has since been linked with a move to Old Trafford—by Goal.com, amongst many others. But their interest will have been tempered by both Benfica's reported £37 million asking price and the 24-year-old's off-colour form since the turn of the year, perhaps most evident in his performances in the quarterfinal tie against Chelsea.
With Ashley Young, Nani and the imperious Antonio Valencia already in his squad, Ferguson should think twice about investing such a huge amount of money in another winger.
Dempsey has won a great many admirers this season, which has been his best since he joined Fulham five years ago.
The Texan has already surpassed the Cottagers' club record for Premier League goals in a season, having recorded 16 so far this term. The 29-year-old is also highly adaptable, having played all across the midfield and up front for Fulham.
However, for all his technical and athletic attributes, question marks still remain over whether or not he can make the step up to the highest level.
Many big clubs have cast their eye over Dempsey over the years and decided against making a move for him. United—whose interest in Dempsey is reported by The Guardian—may be well advised to do the same.
In the early stages of the season, United fans would have been delighted to have read reports that Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar was being linked with a move to Old Trafford.
With big-money signing David de Gea making a handful of costly mistakes, many were quick to write off the young Spaniard and demanded he be replaced. However, De Gea has more than justified his £19 million fee in recent weeks.
On top of that, Julio Cesar has not looked like the keeper he once was this season, and bringing in a 32-year-old to replace De Gea would upset the Spaniard and would in itself be no guarantee of success.
As Italian agent Silvano Martino told website calcionews24.com recently (as reported by Football Italia): "It seems absurd to me. Manchester United spent €25m on David De Gea and I don’t think it is likely that they’ll bring in Julio Cesar alongside him.
"That would only complicate matters for Manchester United as De Gea would totally lose all tranquillity. It’s a move that can’t happen."
Aly Cissokho could already be a Premier League player if Newcastle had been successful in their bid for the French left-back in January, but the Lyon defender is holding out for a move to Old Trafford.
His agent, Ali Barat, is quoted in the Daily Mirror as telling talkSPORT: "Aly wants to play in the Premier League because he feels it suits his game. He has already turned down interest from AC Milan and Juventus because he wants to move to the Premier League and his preferred destination would be Manchester United."
The 24-year-old certainly turned heads when he played against United for Porto in 2009, but is there really much sense in signing him when they already have Patrice Evra? After all, Evra is still only 29, and he's regarded as important enough to wear the captain's armband for United on a regular basis.
With Ezequiel Fryers looking like a real prospect, United could save themselves the money.
The last time United signed a Dutch striker, it's fair to say things worked out pretty well. Ruud van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals for the club in his five years there.
However, for every Van Nistelrooy or Robin van Persie who comes over from Holland and scores a hatful of goals in England, there is a Mateja Kezman or an Afonso Alves who completely flops in the Premier League.
While it would be extremely harsh to suggest that Sporting Lisbon striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel would join the shameful ranks of that latter duo when discussing his link to United (via Metro), it is difficult to see the Dutchman matching the achievements of the former pair.
His 15 goals in the Eredivisie for Utrecht in the 2009-10 campaign attracted attention from Liverpool, but in the end he chose to move to Portugal instead.
The 23-year-old has scored at a decent rate for Sporting in both the league and in Europe, but whether he has the all-round game to make it in the Premier League is another matter. Besides, the fee it would take to pry the striker away from Sporting just one year into his contract should be enough reason to look elsewhere.
As is the case with so many transfer rumours, the source is often a player putting in a great performance against the club they then go on to be linked with.
Oscar de Marcos scored in both legs of Athletic Bilbao's Europa League evisceration of United, and when he scored in the second leg at San Mames, the rumour mill really kicked into gear. The Daily Mail obliges nicely here.
The 22-year-old may have scored two goals against United, but he has only scored four in 28 starts in La Liga this season. The forward has also had a hefty £26 million release clause put into his contract.
Midfielders Iker Muniain and Javi Martinez appear to offer more of what United need were they to raid the Basque club for one of their players.