It's generally accepted that this summer will be one of rebuilding for Manchester United, whether it be their squad or the reassessment of their goals next season.
Despite the club's disappointments this term, however, David Moyes is reported by the Mail Online's Ian Ladyman to have insisted that United will still challenge the likes of Manchester City for the world's top names:
"This club has got a spending power too. City have got that. But I’ve not been told at any time that we don’t have that and I do think that the club will compete [with City]."
It's important that wherever they finish this season, United be unyielding when it comes to transfer prospects, lest they find their own standards and expectations slipping as a result.
Read on for a breakdown of those players who would make the most logical recruits for the falling champions.
Porto's midfield anchor looks set to attract a heap of transfer interest this summer, but after courting interest from Manchester City in January, Fernando would be something of a coup for United.
The Telegraph's Mark Ogden and Jason Burt wrote in January that Moyes had sent scouts to watch the Brazilian in action, and even though the departure of Nicolas Otamendi has hurt Porto's defence, Fernando has been able to soften the blow.
The Mirror's Ed Malyon even hints the 26-year-old holds more value than highly rated teammate Eliaquim Mangala:
Watched Porto v Napoli last night. Reckon £40m for Mangala would be an absolute joke but Fernando looks great http://t.co/h2TVHOkioE— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) March 14, 2014
Despite bringing in Marouane Fellaini last summer, United's engine room is still lacking in that blend of steel and style, but Fernando could bring a mix of tough tackling and some silkier features that the club has been crying out for.
Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich
Possibly the biggest statement Manchester United could make in their current climate would be to take one of Bayern Munich's more treasured jewels, an art in which the Bavarians have become quite adept at themselves.
The midfielder is well known to have a contract which expires next summer, but as The Guardian's David Hytner suggests, talks have stalled regarding an extension, which could lead to Bayern cashing in on his services in the summer.
Hytner's report also details Kroos saying he would consider a move to Old Trafford even if the English giants failed to qualify for the Champions League, which is looking highly likely at this point in the campaign:
It is no secret that the Premier League is a possibility for me. But no one has come to any agreement with me and it will stay like this until the summer and, some time, a decision will be made. It is also no secret that the Premier League is not a bad league. I will consider everything. If I should leave.
Squawka shows just how proficient Kroos has been in Europe this term:
No player who has played more than 5 games in the UCL this season has a higher pass accuracy than Toni Kroos (95%). pic.twitter.com/oCF0Fhz87O— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 21, 2014
From 24 Bundesliga appearances this season, the playmaker boasts an astonishing passing accuracy of 92 percent, per Squawka, which is precisely the kind of consistency Moyes could do with adding into his structure.
Luke Shaw, Southampton
It would be an expensive move and one that could prove the theory of "over-inflated English youngster" prices correct should it go wrong, but Luke Shaw ticks all the boxes on paper.
Sam Adams of Mirror Football says United are willing to offer the Southampton left-back wages of £75,000-a-week in order to complete an Old Trafford switch, which would make Shaw "the highest-paid teenager in Premier League history."
Former Manchester United youth coach Eric Harrison, who mentored the famous Class of '92, is quoted by the Manchester Evening News' Alice McKeegan as giving the green light on a splurge for Shaw:
He’s a modern day full back, he gets forward really well and causes havoc. He’s going to be an incredible player and he could play for England for the next 10-15 years.
I like Patrice Evra, but he’s in his 30s now and if he wants to go to another club or retire then Shaw would be the perfect replacement.
With Evra heading for the club's exit, 18-year-old Shaw could go on to play for another 15 years at the top level, and if his rounded style of prudent attack and secure defending is already anything to go by, he's poised to mature excellently.