Naturally, Manchester United remain as prevalent as ever in the proverbial rumour rumour mill, despite their continued struggles on the pitch.
A spirited late charge to finish in the Champions League spots may at least provide the club’s fans with something to cheer about, yet a major evaluation on the first-team squad will surely be undertaken this summer.
While their current (kind of) good form is currently masking the deep problems at Old Trafford, the daunting figure of Jose Mourinho continues to loom large over his former mentor, Louis van Gaal.
Though it’s unclear as to who will be in charge next season, one thing is for sure: there will be yet another summer of huge investment into the playing staff.
Despite having plundered around a quarter of a billion pounds into the team, the Red Devils still desperately require hefty reinforcements to catch up on the top order of the Premier League. This season may not truly reflect just how far they are behind, due to its brilliant unpredictability, but Pep Guardiola’s arrival across the way at the Etihad Stadium will only prompt them to further invest.
So, with that in mind, here are FIVE big names that could be on their way to Manchester United this summer.
It doesn’t take an overly well connected individual to tell you that Everton forward Romelu Lukaku is attracting the interest of some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
While he’s likely to be expensive, and Everton have already proved they are no pushovers in matters of this ilk, the 22-year old would surely be worth it.
How often does such a palpable goal threat, proven in the Premier League, with as much time on his side as he does emerge?
Scarily, the former Chelsea ace is only getting better. Pairing him with Anthony Martial is a mouth watering prospect, and one that will only get juicier as both forwards hone their craft.
The forward department is lacking a figurehead, someone to lead the line and hold up play. Martial can do it, but has proved so effective as an incisive option for the left. Skipper Wayne Rooney found his best form before injury, though is noted for his penchant to drop deep.
Lukaku could be just the man to provide a true centre-forward like focal point.
Signing Romelu Lukaku makes sense. He’s young enough to prove a sound investment and has plenty of experience on these shores. But this is Manchester United and they do not often make sense in their transfer dealings anymore.
Enter, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Clearly, the superstar Swede is a much bigger name than the aforementioned Everton ace and just because he has no experience in the Premier League does not mean English clubs will be giving him a wide berth this summer.
For a man of such talent, that would be ludicrous.
The huge sums of money that would reportedly be involved in bringing him to the Theatre of Dreams may not be the wisest investment for a player well into the autumn of his career. Still, it’s fun to think about.
The 34-year old has been in rampant form for PSG this term – probably the best season he has had in years – and shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
With Ed Woodward hell bent on landing a ‘Galactico’, and his contract soon to expire, perhaps we could finally see the famous Zlatan try himself out on these shores.
Despite the need for instant success the club are crying out for, they continue to be linked with 18-year old Benfica starlet Renato Sanches.
The Portuguese international has emerged onto the scene in the last year or so, impressing with a series of robust midfield displays for the Lisbon giants.
He’s a dynamic box-to-box midfielder who often demands the ball before surging forward from the engine room and dragging his team forward.
Though he is still only a teenager, those sort of traits make him the mould of player the Red Devils really could do with being able to call on.
Too often, the United midfield is anything but united. At least the introduction of a talented young dynamo could add a sense of urgency to proceedings.
Obviously, the £40m fee is an astonishing figure for a teenager, but wasn’t the same said about Anthony Martial?
It’s by no means an exact science, though perhaps the Frenchman’s deal will encourage the movers, shakers and decision makers at the Theatre of Dreams into bringing Sanches into the club.
Another exciting youngster has been linked with a blockbuster move to Old Trafford in the shape of Atletico Madrid’s 21-year old starlet, Saul Niguez.
Though age is again on his side, the gifted Spanish midfielder has a stellar pedigree already, establishing himself as a regular in Diego Simeone’s Los Rojiblancos outfit.
Wise beyond his years, the former Real Madrid trainee can be deployed in a number of different positions. This season alone, he’s operated both in central and left midfield berths, while he can also do a decent job as a ball playing centre-half.
Think a classier, less ‘funny face pulling’, all round better version of Phil Jones.
Unlike the England international, Niguez largely does an excellent job wherever he is asked to play and combines his excellent levels of close control with a certain tenacity required to play under a general like Simeone.
John Stones seemed set for a move to Chelsea, though Everton stood their ground and refused to budge.
John Stones seemed set for a move to Manchester City, though recent reports suggest incoming manager Pep Guardiola favours a move for Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Bilbao despite a recent injury.
So where is John Stones set for next?
Well, there have been rumours of a move to Old Trafford for a number of months, which are bound to intensify should Mourinho eventually take the reins.
The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ infamously tried and failed to bring the England star to Stamford Bridge, only to lose the battle and eventually his job.
Despite his stock plummeting somewhat in recent months, the 21-year old is obviously still a huge talent for both both club and country.
Yes, at times he is too ponderous in possession, but Daley Blind is surely not a long term option in the centre of defence. His arrival at the club would signal an almost certified replacement for Rio Ferdinand and provide defensive cover for many years to come.
Stones is only going to get better and better as he hones his craft, so United should ensure it is with them.