The super agent Mino Raiola has been the talk of the town around Manchester this summer. The Italian-born Dutchman was behind three of United's four summer transfer deals, including the world-record breaking move for Paul Pogba.
Without his influence, the French midfielder may have ended up at Real Madrid while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could have accepted one of the many alternative offers they had on the table.
And no one owes Raiola more than United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. The successor to David Gill was coming under increasing pressure to start delivering on the commercial success they have enjoyed under his stewardship.
Despite driving their turnover to an unprecedented £500m-per-annum, a lack of success on the pitch and in the transfer market was starting to undermine Woodward's good work. Thanks to Raiola, his position appears to be safe.
It now appears Raiola is looking for those favours to be repaid with Gazzetta dello Sport claiming he is trying to use his influence in the Old Trafford boardroom to try and generate a move for Mario Balotelli.
Yes, you heard us right. Mario Balotelli. The controversial striker who currently plays for United's biggest rivals Liverpool and has previously played for their local rivals Man City. The controversial striker who managed just one Premier League goal following a £16m move to Anfield. That one.
Could it happen?
Obviously, it could not happen but why would Gazzetta, a reputable newspaper in Italy, waste their time writing such a claim? There are several reasons why Balotelli might find some open arms at United, albeit not many.
For instance, Jose Mourinho is believed to have a close relationship with the striker despite their turbulent time together at Inter Milan. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has also played with the Italian and could help him out of his ongoing slump.
However, no Manchester United fan worth their salt would accept Balotelli arriving when there are already doubts over how much Marcus Rashford will play. There are high hopes for the England international and his progression appeared to be the main cause of concern when Mourinho took charge.
The fact that he failed to play in either of United's opening two Premier League games has only increased fears that his career will stall under the Special One. If Balotelli arrives and moves ahead of Rashford in the pecking order, there could well be riots.
However, we are talking about Woodward here; the man who agreed to pay Radamel Falcao's £250,000-a-week wages just to keep himself in Jorge Mendes' good books, so anything is possible.
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