MANCHESTER United's ever more desperate pursuit of Angel di Maria is taking place against a backdrop if serial rejection by several key targets and growing criticism of CEO Ed Woodward.
Louis van Gaal will continue to push for Di Maria but even while the Dutchman completed the signing of Marcos Rojo, rumblings further afield painted a picture of a club prepared to spend over the odds but still unable to do the business.
Herald columnist John Giles and Roy Keane are among the big names to question Woodward's role in bringing in big names to Old Trafford but it would seem that money is being used as a blunt instrument.
Manchester United insist that rumours of failed moves for Thomas Muller and Marco Reus are untrue: "It is not true that we made offers for World Cup winner Muller or Reus at any stage."
Muller gave a broad hint that Manchester United were ready to break the bank to get him, a sentiment echoed by Atletico Madrid vice-chairman Enrique Cerezo when he was asked about his own interest in hot transfer Marco Reus.
Bayern Munich striker Muller appeared to hint at an offer from United in an interview with German newspaper Sport Bild.
Asked if he knew of United's interest, Muller said: "Of course I was aware I could theoretically earn more with a transfer.
"The sums that were standing by from foreign clubs were already astronomical. I can only say that a change was never really an issue anyway.
Cerezo claimed in Spanish media that his club pulled out of the running for Reus because they could not match a more lucrative offer that United had already had rejected.
One of European football's hottest properties, Reus was denied the opportunity to form part of Germany's triumphant World Cup squad over the summer by an untimely injury, but will be very much on Martin O'Neill's mind when he makes plans for Ireland's trip to Germany in October.
"I don't know where the Marco Reus rumour came from," claimed Cerezo. "It's a player who, at this time, is impossible to us."
"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."
Van Gaal finally got some good news last night when Rojo finalised personal terms and formally signed for Manchester United.
Worried fans will see the signing as the first of a series and Rojo's eye-catching performances in Brazil as evidence that the club is signing quality.
"It is such an honour to say that I now play for Manchester United. The Premier League is the most exciting league in the world and to have the chance to play in it for the world's biggest club is a dream for me," said Rojo.
"I am young and am very keen to continue to learn the game, so playing for such an experienced technical coach as Louis van Gaal is a fantastic opportunity for me," he added the talented Argentiean defender.
Van Gaal said: "Marcos is a very gifted defender. He has played at the highest level in world football and can play either as a central defender or left-back"
"He has ability, physical strength and a willingness to learn that means he has a very bright future ahead of him."
"He had a very strong World Cup and has been playing in Europe for a couple of years now. He is a very good addition to the team."