Being a Manchester United fan during transfer season is a turbulent experience, the club's high profile puts it in a position of being capable of signing big players - but time and time again a baseless subtle whisper can lead to Twitter "confirming" a star's impending signature.
Even before Twitter, in Fergie's most glorious years, the media liked to make up a loose narrative for United and report it to the delight, then despair, of fans around the world.
The constant straw-clutching of United's fans is a treasure for all bystanders peering into the echo chamber of lies - but with that said there have been many legitimate occasions the club seemed to have had potential players stand them up at the last minute.
Somewhat poking humour at The Red Devil's expense, here is a list of the team that never was.
Goalkeeper - Hugo Lloris
Manchester United will try to lure Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to the club if David De Gea leaves for Real Madrid this summer [Express] pic.twitter.com/R98UGgUg5d
— RedReveal (@RedReveal) April 9, 2017
In 2009 eyes were locked on the goalkeeper position as Edwin van der Sar was getting closer and closer to his retirement. Things really didn't work out too badly for United who ended up with David DeGea but before him being floated as an option prying eyes were on Hugo Lloris who was then 24 years old and shining for Lyon.
United blogs made whispers of interest and come 2010 the rumours began to ramp up when papers started reporting that United had made an offer of between £15-£20m for the Frenchman. The speculation dragged on until May 2011 when Ferguson managed to push through the DeGea deal with Lloris moving to England a year later as forecasted.
Right-back- Dani Alves
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) June 8, 2017
It was strongly reported that Liverpool and Manchester United were in a tug-of-war for Alves in 2015, but after he picked up the Champions League trophy with Barcelona that year Alves ended up signing a two-year extension. This time last year Barca announced that the player was going to part ways again springboarding the Manchester Untied rumour train into action. The reports strongly suggested United and PSG had made offers for the Brazilian who ultimately ended up at Juve. This summer ripples of Alves finally coming to United have surfaced again.
This time last year Barca announced that the player was going to part ways which again springboarded the rumour back into action. The word on the street was that United and PSG had made offers for the Brazilian who ultimately ended up at Juve. This summer ripples of Alves finally coming to United have surfaced again.
Centre-back - Sergio Ramos
— FootballGoal (@footballvlogr) March 4, 2017
United made a £28m bid for Ramos in 2015 when it was believed he wasn't going to be offered a new Madrid contract but the club rejected the offer and decided to keep their man on until 2020. This invited a tsunami of accusations that Ramos had used United as a bargaining tool to get more money at the Bernabeu.
Prior to signing his new Los Blancos contract Ramos didn't help his case by making it public that he wanted to leave Madrid, this prompted a United source to tell The Star that he had "betrayed United" by not signing saying:
The club was led to believe he wanted to join them and was willing to leave Real Madrid.
He was urged to make his feelings public to help speed up the transfer, but it now looks like he was playing a game all along.
In the end it appears all he wanted was a new contract at Real and it looks like he’s going to get one as well.
Centre-back - Mats Hummels
— Sport5 (@Sport5net) December 6, 2016
One of the more prominent "certain" signings on this list, Hummels seemed to have come extremely close to signing for United but declined at the last minute saying that they were not the "overall package" before clarifying to German media saying:
The overall package means: a club which fascinates me, a club I have always wanted to join, and where the sporting constellation is right, and which of course plays Champions League football next season.
And because of the latter, one club was ruled out, and you can envision which club that was.
The Hummels saga seemed to go on forever and at one point the defender's odds on becoming a Red Devil dropped down as low 1/5 but once Bayern came knocking there was really no chance.
Left-back - Leighton Baines
— Mark Taylor (@markoos01) January 27, 2014
In 2013 Leighton Baines was flying, and it was no surprise that David Moyes wanted to take him to Manchester thus the England left-back was drawn into a huge tug-of-war between the two clubs.
Baines admitted he was in two minds but like a true professional he kept the Roberto Martinez and The Everton Chairman informed of his every thought and continued to train with The Toffees before signing a new deal with them the following winter.
Right Midfield - Ronaldinho
— Sportyou (@SportYou) April 20, 2017
Probably one of the most dramatic of snubs, the Brazilian magician backed out at the very last second to join Barcelona instead, one United fan had infamously got a tattoo of Ron in a United kit which we hope has been lasered away at this stage.
Ronaldinho had by his own admission had agreed to personal terms before u-turning when incoming Barcelona President and "good friend" Sandro Rosell got in contact with him. With 48 hours to spare United were told of a change of heart and that was the end of the matter.
Centre Midfield - Wesley Sneijder (Captain)
— Akşam Spor (@aksamspor) June 10, 2016
Wesley Sneijder is the undisputed Captain of this team.. The first rumoured deal came towards the end of the Ferguson era when in 2011.
Ferguson made attempts to sign Wes from Inter Milan when the midfielder was said to be angry over the club offloading their better players.
Sneijder said later that he came "very close" to signing for United but negotiations broke down after the two parties failed to agree on a financial package.
But that wasn't the end.....
The Dutch man jogged on to Turkey but again found himself flirting with the devil when Moyes came in with a January query for his services. Moyes wanted Sneijder as a direct replacement for Kagawa who was off to Dortmund but again the talks broke down.
Still not over.....
After Moyes came Van Gaal and the gossip got a little break as attempts at a reunification of the player and coach were quickly ousted by Wesley who said the pair had "nothing but trouble" when working together with the National team and with Ajax in 2004.
Then came Jose who has a habit of inquiring with old players and again Wes admitted that they had been in touch, despite saying the pair didn't discuss a move to Old Trafford Sneijder did stick to his teasing ways by adding "but anything can happen in football."
Centre Midfield - Toni Kroos
— Man Utd Mania (@Man_Utd_Mania) April 13, 2017
David Moyes had this transfer in the bag, he had travelled to Germany and met with Kroos and later said that the player and his agent had agreed to join the club. The deal hit a disaster when Moyes was ousted from United and Louis van Gaal came in and decided against the German, there was also rumours of an internal conflict with certain former United players on the board apparently vetoing the signing saying that they didn't think Kroos was 'United type player'.
Toni went to Real Madrid for a measly £20m instead.
Left Midfield - Gareth Bale
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) June 14, 2017
An undisputed "fact" of Twitter is that Bale will inevitably end up at Old Trafford at some point due to his "failure to settle" at Madrid, or possibly his "personality clash" with Cristiano Ronaldo, or because of the frustration he faces any time he's ever left out of any game.
Recently the Independent reported that Madrid are ready to negotiate with United for the Welsh man's services but only if they can fill his spot with either Eden Hazard or Kylian Mbappe.
United "apparently" had a failed £120m bid for the Welshman in 2013 and multiple news outlets have gone with quite the assertive ''Gareth Bale WILL Sign For United" headlines. The fan teasing hasn't been helped by Bale himself saying he could picture himself playing for The Reds.
Forward - Cristiano Ronaldo
— Man United News (@manutd_news2013) June 17, 2017
The only one on the list who no fan could get away with saying "we didn't want him anyway."
It's clear that Cristiano will always keep a special place in his heart for United, and that he seems to be tactical about not burning any sort of bridge with the club with his future in mind. But every single movement the attacker makes is analysed to a tiring degree.
Ever since the Portuguese man vacated England he's been linked with a move back every transfer window and this summer has been no different with Ronaldo apparently "telling Madrid he wants to leave" due to how he has been treated over his tax dodging accusations.
In 2016 it was claimed Madrid wanted to cash in on the then-31-year-old as they believed he was going to decline in value, in 2015 Ronaldo was rumoured to be part of a counter deal for David DeGea and Ferguson had apparently been trying to tap him up on the side, 2014 Ronaldo was "overcome with emotion" after returning to Old Trafford to play a match and in 2013 Ronaldo was unhappy with a contract put to him by Florentino Perez and wanted out.....etc etc.
Forward - Alan Shearer
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) July 30, 2016
When Shearer signed for Blackburn from Southampton Ferguson approached the young Geordie but was told he'd have to wait, a couple of years later when Shearer was to depart from Balckburn The Reds were still expressing a firm interest.
Shearer told FourFourTwo that he was tempted, but that their lazy approach annoyed him. Nevertheless, he engaged in talks but thanks to a bit of sly work from Newcastle Chairman Freddy Sheppard the deal was left flat-footed.
Sheppard cunningly made a deal with United's Martin Edwards that neither of them would bid any more than £10m - or that they would at least let the other one know if they were going to.
The Toon Chairman then went and offered £15m behind Edward's back and Blackburn accepted - the rest is history.
Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas, Antoine Griezmann, Edison Cavani, Arturo Vidal, Thomas Muller.