Manchester United spent big in the summer, seemingly improving the squad in all positions bar one, the centre of defence. Just the arrival of Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon could have been considered a central defensive move - and that decision soon caught United out.
With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic deaprting the club were already down on numbers. Then the usual injury record of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans struck and United were without central defenders.
The likes of Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have performed wonders in the absence of first-team regulars - but it is believed United will address the situation in January.
And a player they were linked with in the summer appears to remain on their radar. Ron Vlaar had an exceptional summer. He was the rock at the heart of Louis van Gaal's Netherlands side that finished third at the World Cup and many thought a move to United was a no brainer.
The fact he would reportedly come cheap also helped matters. Approaching his 30's and his contract expiring in the summer of 2015 - it would appear a team could snap him up on the relative cheap.
In the end Vlaar insisted he was happy at Villa despite the United interest, as well as that from Arsenal, Southampton and perhaps most competitively Italian side Lazio.
Now it is being rumoured that United will move for Vlaar once again in January to shore up their defensive ranks.
But a cut-price deal is not on the cards. It is being reported that Villa want around £12 million for the player - which is certainly too much considering his circumstances.
Previous figures have been quoted as low as £4 million , much more the price-range Villa are likely to get if they sell the Dutchman. But by bumping the price out it certainly separates the men from the boys in the race for his signature.
And it has reportedly already sent one team packing.
Lazio are no longer a club blessed with money and considering the fee they would have to pay, although it would likely be less as they are not a Premier League rival, they have now pulled out of any potential running for Ron Vlaar.
Leaving the path open for Manchester United, and perhaps Arsenal, to test the reserve of Aston Villa.