Contrary to recent reports, Spanish sources say Manchester United are yet to register a bid for Barcelona superstar Neymar, while it's suggested a move for Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann looks very unlikely.
Spanish expert Guillem Balague proclaimed in a Sky Sports Q & A on Friday that United have made no bid for Neymar, labelling the rumours "fascinating:"
This summer Manchester United were willing to pay a huge amount for Bale but learnt quickly he was not going anywhere. They have not bid for Cristiano (even though they have always said they have the finances for it) or Neymar. Fascinating stuff what is behind the Neymar rumours...
The news comes after Brazilian newspaper Globo Esporte reported the Red Devils had made a gargantuan £140 million offer for Neymar, per the Independent's Simon Rice.
ESPN FC's Tim Vickery states the move is still a "long shot" for now, but United's transfer pull means the Premier League giants aren't being ruled out just yet.
Speaking to Goal, ex-Brazil, Barcelona and Chelsea defender Juliano Belletti said that while it may be unlikely the forward will move as things stand, "nothing is impossible," per Charles Perrin of the Daily Express: "No I don't think so, Neymar is very happy in Barcelona. He has adapted to the team, the city and his family have adapted as well but nothing is impossible."
Neymar is only two years into a five-year contract at the Camp Nou and has dazzled for the Blaugrana thus far, scoring 54 goals in 92 appearances.
It's therefore no surprise that Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu is looking to keep the former Santos maestro around for the long haul, according to quotes provided by the Press Association:
United were being linked with a move for Barcelona winger Pedro, only for the Spain international to complete a switch to Chelsea after executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward flew to Catalonia to cut a deal.
But the Guardian's Jamie Jackson reported last week Woodward was actually in Barcelona to make an audacious move for Neymar, a player who would cost the Red Devils significantly more.
ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan goes so far as to insinuate the rumours have merely been drummed up in a bid to get Neymar a better deal should he extend his stay at the Camp Nou:
This summer saw both Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao leave Old Trafford, while Memphis Depay has been the only major acquisition in attack, with Javier Hernandez backing Wayne Rooney up front.
Balague also addressed recent rumours that Atleti's Griezmann could be considered as an alternative to Pedro, and when asked if there was any truth to the speculation, he replied: "Neither Atletico Madrid nor Griezmann expect any offer arriving in the next few days and Atletico have got no intention whatsoever to let him go."
Jack De Menezes of the Independent has pointed out that Griezmann's release clause stands at a massive £57 million, and with five years still remaining on his contract, a move seems improbable.
This summer has seen United go from target to target in their bid to land major names, and Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports says Griezmann is the preferred choice for United fans following recent failures:
The France international enjoyed a fruitful maiden campaign with Los Rojiblancos, scoring 22 goals in 37 league appearances to stride past his previous best season tally of 16 Liga goals.
Atleti boss Diego Simeone has seen a line of important players leave his borders in recent years, but after clinching the 2013-14 Liga crown, the manager may be able to retain more of his top talents.
Neymar and Griezmann sit among the upper crust of European attackers, the kind of pedigree United are hoping to recruit, but Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal may find both players are still out of reach.
It appears the search to reinforce United's attack will go further than this summer, with Van Gaal once again finding his paths blocked in the transfer market.