An intriguing three weeks lie ahead for Manchester United, during which the club's fans will undoubtedly be eager to see a flurry of new names arrive at the club, but there is no certainty of that happening.
Louis van Gaal has been understandably cautious during his first transfer window at the club's helm, but the time for action is coming if the club are to invest further.
The Red Devils are no slouches when it comes to spending big, and here we break down some large expenses that may yet come to fruition at Old Trafford this summer.
Barcelona have completed the signing of Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, which has led to talk of a £30 million effort to bring in Benatia instead. Sky Sports' Peter Hall feels the Moroccan international would do well in Manchester:
@hesham786 Would love Benatia. Can't see anything other than defenders now.— Peter Hall (@PeteHall86) August 9, 2014
For me, it’s clear. He’s under contract and he will be a Roma player this season. Fortunately the president makes a point of speaking with the players, he likes talking with everyone—he hasn’t just spoken with Mehdi, he’s spoken to them all.
The only thing is that for you, the chat he had with Mehdi is more interesting than the ones he had with the others. In my opinion Mehdi is relaxed, he’s motivated and he will play tomorrow. There’s no problem.
Roma may well feel confident of retaining Benatia's services, too, heading into a campaign with a strong squad and hefty ambitions of overthrowing Juventus' Serie A authority, which could convince the stalwart to stay.
Another long-term defensive target of the Red Devils said to still be on their radar is Mats Hummels.
The Borussia Dortmund and Germany talisman continues to be subject of mixed reports, with Gary Jones of the Express claiming United's failure to land Vermaelen will force them into making a £20 million bid for Hummels.
Earlier this summer, Stefan Doring of Goal.com quoted Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc in saying of Hummels:
We did not just find out at the World Cup that Mats Hummels is one of the best centre-backs in the world. Mats can lead a team, he is superb in building the play and he is a great professional. We are happy and also a bit proud that he has decided to commit to BVB for a long time without any conditions.
Greg Johnson of the Mirror agrees with the notion that a player under Hummels current circumstances is simply not a realistic option for United:
The departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have caused a need for some seniority in central defence for Van Gaal, but Europe's elite options may leave the Dutchman hanging in his bid to restrengthen that portion of his side.
One particularly bright hope Van Gaal may have this summer, though, lies in his bid to sign Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado, who will reportedly be free to leave if his valuation is met.
La Viola president Andrea Della Valle spoke with Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Goal's Vaishali Bhardwaj) late last week, stating:
I spoke with Cuadrado and I have presented our project [to him]. I told him to stay another year in the team with a winning project. But I am not optimistic because he has received important offers and we may have to let him go.
We'll see what happens over the next week. The boy had a good reaction. We spoke discreetly. It was a clear negotiation with the player. The World Cup that he played in [with Colombia] has not helped. Juan is a very discreet guy and honest.
Anthony Chapman of the Express confirms that Barcelona remain interested in the Colombian, though Spanish expert Graham Hunter suggests that United can offer better financial prospects:
@Faryfarhan My take is that the Viola presi intimated that he was on the verge of letting Cuadrado leave and United will pay better than FCB— Graham Hunter (@BumperGraham) August 9, 2014
Fiorentina will assuredly be looking to make as much money from the loss of the player as possible, but Barca's Champions League status may also be a big factor in Cuadrado's decision-making process.