There are still two weeks remaining in the summer transfer window, but defending Premier League champions Manchester United have yet to make a breakthrough in their pursuit of Everton stars Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.
In fact, the club appears to have taken a giant step backward.
According to the Mirror's David Anderson, Everton manager Roberto Martinez has called United's chase "a waste of time." Furthermore, in a recent statement released by the club on Twitter, Everton's front office described United's joint £28 million bid for the duo as "derisory and insulting":
With time running out before the transfer window closes on Sept. 2, the latest response from Everton doesn't bode well for the Red Devils' chances of adding either Fellaini or Baines.
David Moyes and United have made it very clear that Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas is their top target this summer. The club has been bidding for the Spaniard for a majority of the offseason and is reportedly still interested despite receiving confirmation from the player himself that he's not interested in moving to England.
Plus, United missed out on an opportunity to meet Fellaini's buyout clause earlier this summer. The clause expired after July 31.
With Martinez appearing very confident that the Toffees will hold on to two of their top players and the club making their disappointment over United's latest bid known to the public, it's extremely difficult to imagine Everton changing course before September.
It would be one thing if Everton acknowledged that a bid had been made and that it was simply too low. But the club's forceful response suggests that this potential move is all but dead, at least until the January transfer window.
Despite Everton's disgust, one fact remains: Moyes managed at Goodison Park for more than a decade and has led both Fellaini and Baines in the past. He has a relationship with both men, and that makes them ideal targets for his new club.
But it's looking highly unlikely that we'll see a reunion in Old Trafford this fall.
The good news for United and their supporters, though, is that they are a talented enough team to finish in the top four and threaten for another league crown without making another addition this summer.
Unfortunately, missing out on Marouane Fellaini will leave the Red Devils vulnerable in midfield, especially when they go up against Europe's top clubs in the Champions League.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.