Manchester United, along with a number of Europe's most prominent clubs, appear content with allowing Tottenham to secure the acquisition of Christian Eriksen from Ajax unchallenged.
Spurs are expected to complete a deal for Eriksen before the transfer deadline next Monday, with the young Dane set to move to north London for the relatively thrifty sum of €12 million.
Recruiting Eriksen will be a coup indeed for Spurs, but the apparent ease in which they have moved to conclude a deal only serves to baffle given Manchester United's apparent need for more midfield creativity.
David Moyes has endured a frustrating transfer window so far, with Manchester United failing in well-documented pursuits of Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas - both outlined as players with the potential to soften the blow left by the retirement of Paul Scholes.
Manchester United had been willing to break their own transfer record of £30.8 million - paid to sign Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham - in order to sign Fabregas but, without a clear explanation, have forgone the opportunity to sign Eriksen on the cheap.
The 21-year-old demonstrated his supreme talents first hand to Manchester United last year in the Europa League, and the smart money suggested the Premier League champions would eventually make their move for the player.
It would appear, however, that Manchester United's scattergun midfield recruitment strategy this summer - which has also included the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Luka Modric - never placed Eriksen in the crosshairs.
The willingness to pay £20 million for Fellaini on the recommendation of Moyes is misguided faith by the club's hierarchy, when a player of Eriksen's calibre is available for less than half of that fee.
Fellaini and Eriksen are differently players entirely, but both provide Manchester United with something they so crave - the creation and scoring of goals.
Eriksen found the net one more time (13 to 12) than Fellaini last season and, perhaps even more importantly, is a relative veteran operator at Champions League level, with the Everton star never having featured in the competition.
Manchester United are desperate to herald the beginning of the Moyes era with a marquee signing this summer and, despite his low transfer fee, Eriksen could have been the recruit to placate the masses.
It is rare that a player of Eriksen's quality and potential becomes available as such a low risk investment, and Manchester United may live to regret not even providing so much of a contest for the Spurs bound youngster.
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