MANCHESTER UNITED were willing to spend a world-record £100million on Real Madrid's Raphael Varane.
Jose Mourinho was so desperate to land a new centre-back that he was ready to blow the bank on a new defender.
The Old Trafford boss saw his attempts to sign a new centre-half fall down at every opportunity over a summer that made his blood boil.
Jerome Boateng and Yerry Mina were the most likely options but Boateng stayed at Bayern Munich and Mina joined Everton for £28.5m.
Boateng's injury record counted against him and United chiefs were unwilling to pay the sky-high agent fees involved for Colombia's Mina.
Meanwhile, the money being asked by tonight’s opponents Leicester for England World Cup ace Harry Maguire was simply too much.
None of Prem's top ten signings cost more than £13m for their previous clubs
And Old Trafford sources insist there has been little contact between them and Tottenham all summer over Toby Alderweireld.
As usual with United, a club who have spent £700million since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, the money was there.
They would have readily stumped up £100m - a world record for a defender - if they felt they could get the right man at the right age, such as Real’s 25-year-old World Cup winner Varane.
But deals like that do not come along very often. The worry in the boardroom was that the centre-backs on Mourinho’s shopping list were not much better than the ones they already had.
Harry Maguire was a top summer transfer target for Man Utd but a move never materialised
And that currently includes Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.
The other two, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, were both signed by Mourinho in the two previous summer windows.
Bailly, 24, cost £30million from Villareal two years ago and has been hampered by a string of injuries.
Lindelof, also 24, was brought in last June from Benfica for £31million but was used sparingly, making just 17 league appearances last term.
You cannot blame the board for wondering why he felt he needed to spend big money on another one.