Thomas Muller and Marco Reus have both turned down big-money offers to join Manchester United this summer.
The German duo have both been approached by the Red Devils, who were more than willing to pay top money for the world-class Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund stars.
Muller spoke honestly to Bild in an interview, which was translated via 101 Great Goals, where he admitted his love for the Bavarian club stood above a lucrative offer from United:
Of course, I was aware that I could theoretically earn more with a transfer [to Manchester United]. The sums that were standing by foreign clubs in the room were already astronomical. I can only say: For me, a change was never really an issue anyway. FC Bayern is my club.
The World Cup winner inked a new deal with the club in June, ending speculation he could be set for a reunion with Louis van Gaal. It was the former Bayern boss who brought Muller through the ranks at the Allianz Arena, providing him an opportunity to star in the first team. Needless to say, the versatile forward has never looked back.
Unlike Muller's interview, news of United's alleged offer for Reus didn't come straight from the player. Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo acknowledged his club wouldn't be able to land the skilful 25-year-old due to its financial limitations. He suggests United offered more than Atletico ever could and still failed.
"Look, he had an offer for a lot of money from Manchester United and he has not gone…we will not sign him with a lesser offer," said Cerezo, reported by Richard Arrowsmith of the Daily Mail.
Such claims usher in further disappointment for United fans, who are currently enduring a frustrating transfer window. Despite bringing in Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and likely adding Marcos Rojo, per Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph, Van Gaal needs further signings if the squad is to challenge for a place in next season's Champions League.
This was highlighted during United's Premier League defeat in their opener against Swansea. Van Gaal's side lacked confidence on the ball, incision and the ability to shift through the gears. Adnan Januzaj offered some smart touches on the flank, but Nani and Ashley Young struggled to positively influence the game at wing-back.
Van Gaal previously stated that "we don't have wingers of the highest level," per Sky Sports. Both Muller and Reus are comfortable when playing out wide, where they offer boundless energy and the ability to contribute across the pitch. They are goalscorers when moving into the centre, and both also have the ability to thrust their team to victory through individual brilliance.
United are lacking stars like this. Nani's loan to Sporting as part of the Rojo deal, per BBC Sport, sums up a squad that is failing to reach its potential. The Portuguese winger has received countless opportunities to show his lethality for the Red Devils, but Van Gaal is now best suited to spending heavily during the remaining 12 days of the transfer window.
Sunderland's interest in Danny Welbeck could speed the manager's activity up, but the player has already chosen not to join Hull in a £12 million transfer, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail. For all of Welbeck's hard work, he is another whose end product heightens the sense of frustration when he steps onto the field.
Deals for Muller and Reus have always seemed unlikely. Muller appears embroidered in the woodwork with Bayern much like Ryan Giggs was at United, which suggests he could be a one-club man.
Will Manchester United land a world-class winger this summer?
Dortmund have denied Reus will leave on countless occasions. His exit would significantly harm the club's chances of silverware, and his name would no longer be used to attract signings.
For United, the aforementioned Germans can be added to the list of players who have gotten away. Muller and Reus join the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos and possibly Arturo Vidal, per Neil McLeman of the Mirror, as top-quality stars who have slipped through the Old Trafford hierarchy's grasp.
United continue to rack up failures when trying to sign renowned names, a trait that doesn't appear unlikely to halt under Van Gaal.
The Dutchman needs to snap up a marquee signing quickly to provide the club and supporters with confidence during this difficult time. Although Muller and Reus have always seemed unlikely, the new manager needs to quickly unearth alternatives who are willing to take on the challenge.