From the moment Manchester United confirmed their Champions League place with a final day victory over Leicester, there was a lot riding on this summer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recognises the need to strengthen his squad to compete on all fronts, and yet the trail has seemingly gone cold in the pursuit of a number of targets.
Borussia Dortmund are refusing to budge in their valuation of Jadon Sancho, while it is not yet known who United will focus their attentions on as they prioritise a new centre-back.
Meanwhile, United’s rivals are getting busy with their recruitment. Here are four of today’s biggest United transfer stories.
Barca believe United are in position to sign Messi
News of Lionel Messi’s decision to leave Barcelona this summer sent shockwaves throughout the sport, and the Camp Nou club believe United are one of the destinations where the Argentine could end up.
Spanish outlet Sport claims United have made contact with Messi’s representatives over a potential move to the club this summer, although neighbours Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain would provide competition for the player’s signature.
The Argentine wants to leave the Camp Nou on a free transfer due to a clause in his contract which allows him to depart Barcelona as a free agent at the end of each season.
City could also make a move for Messi, with Goal reporting the 33-year-old has already spoken to his former Barca manager, Pep Guardiola, over a potential switch to the Etihad Stadium.
United told to up offer for Monaco centre-back
United have reportedly had an offer of €25million (£22m) for Benoit Badiashile rejected by Monaco, with the Ligue 1 club demanding much more for the teenager.
RMC Sport journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi took to Twitter on Wednesday to reveal that United had been unsuccessful in their latest efforts to sign the central defender.
New Monaco manager Niko Kovac has communicated to the club’s board that they should reject all bids for the young player. Indeed, Bouhafsi reports Monaco will only accept an offer that “cannot be [refused], like with [Anthony] Martial.”
United’s reported bid underlines Solskjaer’s desire to bring in another defender. Badiashile, as a talented young player who is likely to grow and develop further, could fit the bill.
United given deadline in pursuit of Ajax midfielder
Ajax have set a deadline of September 13 for any team planning on signing Donny van de Beek this summer, with United interested in the Dutch midfielder.
Dutch outlet Het Parool (via Team Talk) claims the Old Trafford outfit are keen on the 23-year-old, who has also been linked with a move to Real Madrid in the past, with Ajax demanding a fee of €50m (£45m) for the player.
However, the Amsterdam side want all transfer business to be concluded before the start of the new Eredivisie season, so United will have to make a move before September 13 if they are to get their man.
Van de Beek was a key figure for Ajax as they made an unexpected run to the Champions League semi-final in the 2018/19 season, with the midfielder also an established member of the Dutch national team.
Barcelona full-back to complete United move
Teenage Barcelona right-back Marc Jurado travelled to Manchester on Wednesday morning to complete a move to Manchester United.
The 16-year-old posted a picture to his Instagram account showing him waiting for a flight to Manchester, with the defender having decided against signing a new contract.
United will pay a compensation fee of €1.5m (£1.3m) for Jurado, with the full-back able to train with his new teammates following a two-week quarantine period having arrived from Spain.
“A new dream is coming,” the caption on Jurado’s Instagram post read, with the teenager also thanking Barcelona for his development up to this point.
“It’s never easy to leave a team that has given you everything. Barcelona has been my second home, my second family, where I have developed as a player and as a person.
“Today it’s time to say goodbye, but not before expressing my gratitude to each of the people who have helped me since I started in the prebenjamín in the year 2011.”