Manchester United are still someway short of Tottenham Hotspur's valuation of Toby Alderweireld, and are considering approaches for Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng or Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez instead.
With the transfer window closing on Thursday, Jose Mourinho is adamant the club sign him an authoritative centre-half, but the Old Trafford have encountered more frustration in their pursuit of Alderweireld.
Spurs have let it be known they would sell but only at a certain price - understood to be over £55m - and United are still no closer to meeting it.
In what has become a game of brinksmanship, United are now considering moves for two players who they have had long-standing interest in: Boateng and Gimenez.
The Atletico defender would be difficult to prise away at this stage, but Boateng has spoken of his desire to try new football challenges after so long at Bayern.
United will still press ahead with a move for Alderweireld, but the frustration of the situation is forcing them to look elsewhere.
That said, Harry Maguire is seen as too high-priced, given Leicester City would want £75m, while the speculation around Yerry Mina primarily comes from Barcelona looking to sell the player.
In a summer more memorable for Jose Mourinho's misery than for any of the usual pre-season excitement, it felt fitting that the Manchester United manager chose this last non-competitive fixture as the setting for his latest warning of impending doom.