Arturo Vidal is looking ever likelier to stay at Juventus. Angel Di Maria is odds-on to elect for Paris St Germain over the Premier League. The likes of Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger are perfectly happy where they are at Bayern Munich, thank you very much.
And yet, despite Manchester United finding suitable midfield targets hard to attract this summer, in Louis van Gaal they have found a manager supremely confident in making up for any shortfalls within his squad – an abundance of evidence for which has already been on display in the few short weeks he has been at the Red Devils helm.
For Van Gaal is, first and foremost, a coach.
So while the prospect of the likes of Tom Cleverley filling a midfield role this season might fill some supporters with dread, already there is evidence from United’s impressive US Tour so far to suggest that Van Gaal can do what his predecessor so spectacularly failed to; make this United squad more than just a sum of their parts.
If making United’s players dine together with the youth team and coaches at Carrington, and redeveloping the Dutch squad’s hotel to include a “family room” do not lay bare Van Gaal’s ethos, then how he took the Netherlands to third place at the World Cup surely does.
Van Gaal’s United squad is certainly “unbalanced” and maybe even “broken”, as the man himself has said, but the confidence which was sapped out of the players by David Moyes’s reign is being restored with interest.
Away from what is going on on the pitch, where United have registered three wins from their three matches this summer, Van Gaal is building up players who looked destroyed in the final months of last season.
By the end of Moyes’s reign, the players, most of them playing in a completely different way to what they were used to, had clearly lost confidence in not just the manager but themselves. It looked as though there was no gameplan whatsoever.
But nobody can say they don’t know what Van Gaal wants from them now. Both Moyes and Van Gaal wanted the players to adapt, but the Dutchman has the CV and conviction to make it work. Luke Shaw, for example, has been told he’s not fit and, according to the manager at least, he has accepted that completely.
There is no confusion; it has been made clear to the youngster exactly what is expected of him and how he has to go about achieving it.