The idea of Paul Pogba’s exit from Manchester United seems fanciful at this point, but according to some reports, they may be tempted to do business with Barcelona if their offer is more serious.

Having offered £40m and two back up players, Barcelona’s offer was dismissed almost out of hand; but, with the reluctant admission that Pogba may want to move to Spain, and neither of the big two in Spain having the cash reserves to make an instant move, a player plus money move may not only be the best way that United can resolve the situation, it may also be the best way they can get an extra couple of bodies over the line.

The Express report that United may be tested if Barcelona offer Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic; the former would be a pacy name who would play from the right, and the latter would be a senior replacement for Pogba. Although not on the same level, Rakitic would be a functional alternative.

Such a remove remains doubtful as negotiations would have to be well advanced to be concluded at this point, and a transfer such as this one has so many complexities that it seems unlikely it will happen.

If United were to let their record signing go, it would also be a major blow commercially and open up the club for more criticism after a dismal summer where they were expected to strengthen their squad significantly to challenge Manchester City.

United manager Jose Mourinho has cut a frustrated figure and this particular negotiation will have been the furthest thing he wanted to entertain as the deadline approached. He is keen to sign a senior defender, with a right sided attacker high on his list of priorities, and also a left back. Despite links to Willian and Alex Sandro, neither transfer has got off the ground.