If there is one team who are expected to have a big January transfer window it is Manchester United.
Sitting outside of the top four but still close enough to challenge for the Champions League, the consensus is that the Premier League champions need to strengthen if they are to achieve anything in their first season in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
The areas needing improvement are easy enough to identify. David Moyes needs at least one - maybe even two - quality central midfielders, and a central defender, possibly even two, to replace ageing legs at the back.
As the club have found during the last few years of Ferguson's reign, however, getting the right players at an affordable price isn't easy. Especially, in a transfer market that is becoming more and more expensive season after season, window after window.
This issue of price is crucial because, unlike Real Madrid, PSG, Chelsea or those noisy neighbours Manchester City, United's transfer kitty is not endless. If players can be signed at the right price then the money is there to spend but recent history shows that the suitor's idea of the right price and the selling club's idea of the right price are often two very different things.
Witness - for example - Moyes' attempts to sign both Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines as part of a discounted bundle in the summer.
So, Manchester United will look to buy, but historically have resisted paying inflated prices. The difficulty here is that clubs can sense weakness at Old Trafford now. The Red Devils need to sign players to improve certain areas. Selling clubs therefore will hold United to ransom. They won't sell cheaply or even at fair market price.
Take for example one of United's more plausible potential signings, ever since Moyes was seen at the Vicente Calderón Stadium. Atletico Madrid's central midfielder Koke.
A strong presence in the middle of the park, Koke has played an important role in propelling Diego Simeone's men into La Liga title race. Aged only 21, Koke is just the sort of player that United should look to improve their faltering central midfield.
The difficulty is that for all United's talk of being the biggest club in the world, it is hard to see why Koke would want to go anywhere in January. Atletico are in the last-16 of the Champions League and challenging for the domestic title in Spain.
Similar arguments could be made for United's other plausible targets like Adam Lallana. The only way Moyes will get these players in January is to pay big money for them. Such a tactic however, does not fit with the way Manchester United do business if they can even afford to.
Red Devils fans should prepare themselves for a disappointing transfer window.
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