Manchester United were still buzzing by the surprise Donny van de Beek news when rumours returned about a potential swoop for Thiago Alcantara.
The prospect of a Dutch supremo and a Spanish superstar both arriving at Old Trafford this summer had fans dreaming of what could be.
Yet the truth about those resuscitated Thiago rumours could be the usual story when it comes to United and many of the players they have been linked with in the past.
United’s name is often thrown into the mix when agents or rival clubs want to force another’s hand.
Sometimes it is to get an improved contract at their current club. On other occasions it is simply to drum up interest.
And, as seems to be the case with Thiago, it is to scare Liverpool into action.
German publication Bild claims that United are attempting to take advantage of Liverpool’s dallying by opening talks with the Spanish international’s agents. But there’s a problem.
Yes, Thiago is one of Europe’s best midfielders who has just inspired his team to Champions League glory. And of course United should be looking at him given his £26million price tag.
Yet Van De Beek’s imminent arrival means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already has a multitude of midfield options.
Alongside the Dutchman there is Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scot McTominay. Then there is the next generation, with big things expected of Hannibal Mejbri, James Garner and Dylan Levitt further down the line.
Are United really keen on adding yet another to that mix? Or is their name simply being thrown about because it so often is?
Twisting the transfer narrative
Had you asked United fans where they needed to strengthen a few weeks ago, most would have said centre-back, right wing and up front. Not many would have said midfield. And yet now, with Van De Beek almost here, fans want Thiago too.
That speaks volumes about his quality and, while United already have the numbers, this should be one case of Ed Woodward turning a potentially fake story on its head.
United may not have been thinking about Thiago until they were used to force Liverpool’s hand. But now they certainly should be.
In fact, they should swoop and turn a likely fiction into an exciting reality.
Most of the time, when United are used as fuel for the transfer fire, the player in question is unattainable.
That is not the case with a £26m-rated Thiago who could be the bargain of the summer despite United’s already impressive midfield options.