Manchester United's executive vice chairman Ed Woodward was at pains to insist yesterday that the Red Devils will only be active in the January transfer market if a long-term target becomes available.
Woodward's comments significantly narrow the field in terms of which top players could arrive at Old Trafford in the middle of the season, although defensive reinforcements surely remain an urgent priority.
United spent a club-record £150 million last summer and took world football by surprise with audacious swoops for Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao, but just who is Woodward referring to when he insists potential January signings will be anything but short-term fixes.
Woodward not planning to splash the cash
Here's exactly what United's transfer supremo said in an investor conference call on Tuesday afternoon: "We are not looking to enter the market for short-term fixes.
"However we have targets we are looking at for next summer. Should any of them become available in January, which is obviously rare, we will consider acting.
Who are United's most realistic January targets?
"But I think in terms of expectation setting, we all need to recognise that is a low probability."
That leaves United with only a handful of genuine lines of enquiry to pursue in terms of recruitment in January, but don't rule out a blockbuster transfer just yet.
Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman for example is a player that Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal knows and trusts, so if the chance becomes available to sign him in 2015 then surely United will take it, even at a premium price.
Beyond that there are a whole host of top-class players Red Devils know would immediately improve there current squad, but how likely are they to be brought to the Theatre of Dreams in January?
Patience is the name of the game for United, but here's five that you can pretty much rule out for a big transfer unless something drastic happens between now and January!
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