Sergio Ramos and Nicolas Otamendi are the two centre-backs who Manchester United have been most heavily linked with this summer, but to varying degrees.
It was Otamendi who found himself as the focus point ahead of his participation in the Copa America and reports from Argentina went as far as to suggest an initial agreement was already in place, but nothing happened.
Then Ramos came into the picture out of the blue and gripped Man United fans who were all understandably excited at the possibility of him moving to Old Trafford.
Despite the growing unrest, the flirtations with United and ambiguous comments about his future, it has now been widely reported that Ramos has put pen to paper on a lucrative new Real Madrid contract, which leaves United in a situation which has become all too familiar in recent years.
For fans, attention then went back onto Otamendi. The 27-year-old Valencia captain would still be an excellent signing by the club and there aren’t many better available defenders in the current market.
Yet, there is a question mark over whether United have ever at all been interested in signing Otamendi.
— Ian Ladyman (@Ian_Ladyman_DM) August 16, 2015
If they have never been interested, then why not? Otamendi is a leader, a bullish centre-back with experience and natural qualities which United lack. On paper, he looks like the perfect signing to sure up a defence which has never replaced Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic adequately.
There has always been a big question mark over whether United have ever been in the market for a new centre-back this summer and that in itself is a staggering concept.
It was the weakest position going into the transfer window and two clean sheets in the opening fixtures don’t change that fact. Inevitable injuries to United’s four senior centre-backs will plunge the team into an injury crisis if a new one isn’t signed.
As well as the obvious with United needing a leader and injury worries being a cause for concern, imagine how good Chris Smalling could potentially become with Otamendi alongside him, in the same fashion Jonny Evans blossomed when partnered with Ferdinand in the long-term.
We’ve been banging the drum throughout the whole transfer window that it would be a massive oversight and risk by Louis van Gaal to invest so smartly in effectively every other position that needed strengthening apart from the one which so obviously needing improving.
However, with only a few weeks to go in the transfer window, it does look like that could be a genuine possibility.