Manchester United have just five Premier League fixtures left this season, ensuring David Moyes' focus will soon turn to a summer of expensive activity.
The Scottish manager's difficult first year in charge is unlikely to end in Champions League football and certainly without silverware. It's a disappointing start to the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, but with a reported £200 million to spend, things could quickly improve for supporters who crave new blood.
Marco Reus, Luke Shaw and Toni Kroos are currently being linked with Old Trafford transfers. Here, we detail the latest news on each.
Latest News on Manchester United's Potential Transfer Targets
Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund
United fans will salivate at the thought of having Marco Reus in their side, especially considering the Dortmund forward's current stint of form. He has scored or assisted 12 of his side's last 13 goals. According to former teammate Mario Gotze, Reus wishes to secure a move to England:
"When I was at Borussia Marco (Reus) wanted a move to Man United, he hasn’t changed," said Gotze, according to Stuart Mathieson of the Manchester Evening News.
Although an intriguing quote, Reus' current form highlights his importance to Dortmund's progression, something Jurgen Klopp isn't going to give up easily.
Reus suffered a mid-match argument with goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller during Tuesday's win over Wolfsburg, per Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC. The German stopper became animated with his colleague after Reus sloppily gave the ball away, but Klopp indicated the situation was soon defused.
"Everything was fine after the match," Klopp told ARD TV via Bild, per Uersfeld's report. "Keepers have to take smashes in their face from one metre for us. It’s understandable, it got a bit louder. Marco has been playing on an unbelievable level for the past three weeks. He just did not have enough oxygen in his head."
While minor incidents like this are unlikely to see Reus move on, Gotze may have let slip the German international is open to a change of scenery.
Luke Shaw, Southampton
The Telegraph's Mark Ogden believes United have moved "ahead" of Chelsea in the race for Luke Shaw, a transfer that is likely to cost the Red Devils £30 million. Curiously, Shaw was caught favouriting a tweet that linked him with a move to Manchester, reported by Jack Wilson of the Daily Star:
Shaw has 175,000 followers on Twitter and was last night messaged by one United fan called Sarah.
She wrote: "Hope you sign for mufc, we are all excited, good luck." Users on the site can retweet or favourite to show approval of others' posts - and Shaw favourited the tweet. However, the England ace has now backtracked by unfavouriting the message.
Although this is likely to be a blip on Shaw's behalf, such a mistake will capture the imagination of many United followers. ESPN also believes the struggling Premier League champions are "edging closer" to the youngster, who would likely be utilised as the natural successor to Patrice Evra.
United could desperately use Shaw's pace, confidence and willingness to work. Evra's importance has diminished alongside his increasing laziness, making him a liability throughout the season.
Moyes needs hungry talent who wish to prove themselves, and he would be wise to do all he can to secure Shaw.
Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich
Mixed messages continue to surface in the Toni Kroos affair.
Linked with a move to United since the winter transfer window, it seemed the English club received a breakthrough when Pep Guardiola recently confirmed the final decision "is up to Toni," reported by Gary Jones of the Daily Star.
Unfortunately for United fans, Kroos' agent quickly quashed his client's chances of moving. "There is no official contract offer," Volker Struth told Bild, via Uersfeld. "Moreover, there is no need to make an official offer, because Toni Kroos will play at FC Bayern at least until 2015."
Which player do Manchester United need most?
This saga is destined to continue evolving throughout the summer. If Moyes craves Kroos as feverishly as reports suggest, he'll have to offer spectacular terms. Jamie Jackson of The Guardian suggests a contract worth £260,000 per week could be on the table, adding extra spice to an already tasty rumour.
With names of this quality being linked to United, many will believe the club is sure to enjoy a prosperous second season under Moyes. Right now, the transition process is yet to hit full momentum. If players such as Reus, Shaw and Kroos are snapped up, the new era will arrive and truly start to address its potential.
The upcoming transfer window is United's most important in years. Should Moyes manage to sign the right personnel, the historic club will be confident of regaining Champions League football and pushing for major honours.