With Manchester United getting set to trade on the New York Stock Exchange, the level of debt heaved on the club by the Glazers' takeover in 2005 has come back into sharp focus. While the move should help reduce the astronomical £423 million obligation, it is clear why many of the club's supporters fear that interest repayments are restricting the ability of United to compete for the world's best players.
Already this summer, United have missed out on the coveted capture of Eden Hazard to Chelsea, while last year a similar scenario panned out when Samir Nasri chose rivals Manchester City ahead of an offer from Old Trafford.
Shinji Kagawa and youngster Nick Powell have already been signed up this close season, but there remains an appetite for further additions after falling short last term, both in the Premier League and woefully so in Europe. With Sir Alex Ferguson claiming that there are another couple of deals in the pipeline, it could be a busy summer at United.
Speculation on Thursday has thrust United into the hunt to sign Arsenal's want-away forward Robin van Persie. The Dutchman has revealed in a strongly worded statement that he has no intention of signing a new contract at the Emirates. Now, the Daily Mail reports that Ferguson is determined to beat rivals City to the signing of last season's Premier League Golden Boot winner.
Such a move is difficult to envisage at this stage. First there is the consideration of Van Persie's age; turning 29 next month, he falls a long way outside of United's remit of not spending significant sums on players aged 26 or over. There is also again the fear that Manchester City will be prepared to offer both a considerably larger transfer fee and wage packet than United.
Perhaps more likely to come to fruition is the speculation linking United with a move for Brazilian youngster Lucas Moura. The club's interest in the 19-year-old has been reported for some time and now the Mirror claims that a delegation has been sent to Sao Paulo to secure the signing for up to £30 million.
Compared to Theo Walcott for his head-down running style, Lucas has more tricks on the ball and has also added an ability to find the net from distance in recent times. United have also been strongly mentioned in connection with a move for Porto winger James Rodriguez with Nani yet to sign a new contract at Old Trafford. In contrast to Lucas, Rodriguez would add a left-footed balance to United's attack.
Chelsea are reported to have already had a bid rejected for the Sao Paulo star, while Real Madrid have also met with the Brazilian international's father.
Further speculation has also emerged over United's efforts to revamp their central midfield. Ferguson is said to be keen on Benfica's Axel Witsel and, according to the Daily Mail, their chances of signing the Belgium international could be aided by the Lisbon giants' interest in United midfielder Anderson.
The Brazilian has failed to cement himself as a first-team regular at Old Trafford since his big money move in 2007 after a succession of injuries and inconsistent form. It has also been said that he could return to former club Porto as a makeweight in possible deals for James Rodriguez or Joao Moutinho.
Reportedly, Witsel, 23, is also being chased by Chelsea.