It is easy enough to hesitate regarding a deal for Kalidou Koulibaly, perhaps Napoli do not want to sell him now, but likewise Southampton and Athletic Bilbao did not want to part with their star man last season.
Of course Champions League football comes into the equation, but by delaying a move for a top-class defender United jeopardise any hopes of their own involvement in the same competition next season.
If Koulibaly is good enough for United, then he is worth paying extra for now.
It is no surprise to see the Senegalese defender linked with a move to Real Madrid as uncertainty continues to mount over United’s own transfer activity.
While it might make financial sense to delay recruitment now, it simply does not make sense from a football perspective. With every man of the match display a player like Koulibaly will only continue to justify a higher price-tag, and with that run the risk of a side like Real Madrid stealing such a formidable talent in the summer.
The safe option for United is to save money in the current transfer window, but such sheepish commitment could prolong the predicament they find themselves in now.