Mehdi Benatia, Arturo Vidal and Juan Cuadrado are marked men as three of Serie A’s brightest stars have become the centre of transfer talk around Europe this summer.
At the same time their respective clubs - Roma, Juventus and Fiorentina - maintain that they’re not inclined to part ways with the key ingredients of their squads.
Whilst this desire to retain their services is genuine, every player has a price. A sizeable enough sum is always sufficient to make a club consider selling.
This is exactly the scenario that Manchester United face with Benatia, Vidal and Cuadrado. Linked with all three, each would fill a need present in Louis van Gaal’s side.
But according to Sky Sport Italia’s Manuele Baiocchini, United are yet to take concrete steps towards capturing any of them, despite previous reports on the contrary.
Namely, the Red Devils are yet to put any true offers on the table. Baiocchini maintains there have been contacts regarding Vidal and Cuadrado, but nothing further. As for Benatia, "no fax, no mail, no approach - nothing at all" has been registered - even as ‘the interest is real’.
There’s a threshold for signing each. Juventus would reportedly accept £36 million for Vidal, Roma £28 million for Benatia and Fiorentina £32 million for Cuadrado.
And beyond these figures, the path looks clear competition-wise. Aside from United, there appear no strong suitors for Vidal. Meanwhile, Manchester City chose Eliaquim Mangala over Benatia whilst Chelsea ruled themselves out of the race, and Barcelona’s heavy £66 million net spend leaves them short on Cuadrado money barring a significant sale.
United themselves have already splashed out £51 million net so far this summer - bringing in Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. The question now is how much more will be shelled out.
If the chequebook is set to be opened, there looks every chance Benatia, Vidal or Cuadrado could arrive. Not all three - which would cost a hefty £96 million by Baiocchini’s figures - but the most important of the trio as chosen by van Gaal.
"It therefore seems to all depend on Manchester United," writes Baiocchini. "If they did follow words with deeds, they could be the main ally of the Italian market."
United seemingly can get what they want, it’s just a matter of meeting the demands of clubs that want sums to reinvest in exchange for key players.
Each one of Benatia, Vidal and Cuadrado would significantly boost United’s quality even on their own. And entering the decisive final weeks of the transfer window, the Red Devils have crucial decisions to make on what lengths they’re willing to go to in order to bring them to Old Trafford.