Sir Alex Ferguson has reportedly all but given up on signing Lucas Moura, while Robin van Persie looks set to have slipped through his net as well - but such transfer near-misses are nothing new for Manchester United fans.

The Old Trafford faithful have become used to dealing with the high hopes of a summer transfer window, and the despondent resignation of another failed transfer pursuit.

The window itself is a strange arrangement, sort of like a giant stock exchange, but where people are traded, rather than stocks and shares, and often for gigantic multi-million fees. Clubs buy and sell with a view to gain, whether that be through sell-on profits or improved squads and better on-pitch results.

And like any gamble there has to be winners and losers. Sometimes winning the race to sign a player can turn into a massive loss financially - Alberto Aquilani for example - but other times winning that race ensures your rivals miss out - Eden Hazard as another example. One club's gain, is another's loss.

With the transfer window now in full swing, we've already had enough transfer sagas to fill a whole summer - Luka Modric, Robin van Persie and Lucas Moura to name three.

Manchester United have been linked with all three over the past six months, and have failed to land their targets so far. So, with this in mind, GMF looks back at the top transfer failures, the near-misses and the close calls, that have haunted Premier League clubs over the past few seasons.

Manchester United - Gareth Bale / Samir Nasri / Luka Modric / Eden Hazard

Sir Alex Ferguson's side have reportedly gone after almost every top target in recent transfer windows, and when challenged by their competitors they've come up short on every occasion.

Gareth Bale was highly rated by Ferguson, but chose Spurs, Samir Nasri opted for their City rivals, and Eden Hazard teased Old Trafford before selecting Stamford Bridge.

Throw in Luka Modric, and the stuttering pursuit of Lucas Moura and Robin van Persie, and Manchester United have a worringly record.

Some of these near-misses will be self-inflicted, as United almost certainly dropped out of the race to sign Hazard after nabbing Kagawa, and Ferguson has reportedly pulled the plug on the Moura deal.

But, the fact remains that both stars were top transfer priorities. You can't always get what you want, but United have had a settle for second-best more times than they would like.

Arsenal - Zlatan Ibrahimovic / Yaya Toure / Karim Benzema / Cristiano Ronaldo

Ibrahimovic was tantalisingly close to joining Arsenal as a teenager. In 2000, a youthful Ibra held talks with Arsene Wenger, even posing for a picture with an Arsenal Ibrahimovic number nine jersey, but the Gunners boss wanted to see the teenager in a trial.

But as Ibra revealed this year, "Zlatan doesn't do auditions." Instead, he chose Ajax, and has gone on to the become the most expensive player in cumulative transfer fees in football history.

Yaya Toure did manage to complete an Arsenal trial in 2003, but the 20-year-old was deemed "completely average". The Gunners boss still tried to sign the Ivorian - brother Kolo Toure was already at the club - but problems with work permits stalled the deal, and Toure joined Metalurh Donetsk instead.

Wenger also admitted he was interested in France ace Benzema when he was at Lyon, but the Gunners manager was caught by surprise when the striker completed a €35m switch to Real Madrid.

Most shocking of all is how close Arsenal came to landing Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003. Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes revealed this year that the Portuguese forward was scouted "nine or ten times" by the Gunners who were poised to bid.

But Manchester United swooped at the last minute - at the urging of the United players - and the rest is history.

Chelsea - Luka Modric / Hulk / Lucas Moura

Their summer-long pursuit of Luka Modric ended in failure last year, after Daniel Levy's steadfast negotiating position made compromise impossible.

And this year their chase for Porto striker Hulk looks to be going the same way. Chelsea have been linked with the Brazil ace for months - and a £38m was reportedly close - but the rumours have died down.

Before the signing of Eden Hazard, Chelsea reportedly had a £32m bid for Lucas Moura turned down. Hazard isn't a bad alternative, and Chelsea aren't the only Premier League team to have tried and failed - or decided not to pursue - the 19-year-old Brazil midfielder.

Liverpool - Gylfi Sigurdsson / David Silva

With former-Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers in charge, Liverpool were supposed to be favourites to land impressive Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. But a late change of heart saw Rodgers snubbed as Sigurdsson opted for Andre Villas-Boas and Tottenham Hotspur.

Even more surprising is the fact that former-Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez revealed the Reds just missed out on signing Manchester City star David Silva.

After impressing during Euro 2008, Benitez tried to sign Silva, but the £25m asking price put off the Liverpool boss. City have since taken the gamble, and it's paid off.

Manchester City - Kaka / Eden Hazard / Robin van Persie

Under Mark Hughes, City were close to signing Milan midfielder Kaka for a world-record £100m fee. But a late reversal - inspired in part by fan protest in Milan - robbed City of Kaka's services.

Along with Manchester United, City also lost out to Chelsea in the race to snare Eden Hazard. The two-time French Footballer of the Year was Europe's hottest property this summer, but City's millions and a Premier League title were not enough to convince Hazard to join Roberto Mancini's side.

And the City boss has most recently admitted that transfer target Robin van Persie will probably not be joining City. Like Hazard, van Persie seemed to be the subject of a two-way tussle between United and City, with Juventus waiting in the wings, but van Persie has reportedly completed a stunning u-turn and could be set to stay put in north London.

Tottenham Hotspur - Jose Salomon Rondon / Joao Moutinho

This week, Tottenham target Jose Salomon Rondon bailed out of crisis club Malaga and signed for Russian side Rubin Kazan. Spurs are in desperate need of a striker, with Emmanuel Adebayor's move seemingly stalled and Louis Saha released and Rondon was thought to be a primary target.

Joao Moutinho was also linked with a move to White Hart Lane. The appointment of former-Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas sparked rumours of a reunion, but a move has failed to materialise.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal
Football
David Silva
Chelsea
Premier League
Kolo Toure
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Gylfi Sigurdsson