Bayern Munich forward Thomas Müller has been linked with Manchester United this week and you might be forgiven for thinking you had somehow gone back in time to 2015.
The story that initially emerged was credited to ‘reports in Germany’ and alleged that United are on ‘red alert’ because Müller has asked to leave Bayern after being relegated to the bench.
The follow up was then that United have ‘made initial enquiries’ about Müller’s availability.
The first could have put down to overzealous speculation putting United’s name in the frame by default because of interest four or five years ago. But the ‘enquiries’ story is much harder to dispute and makes it seem as though there is at least some current interest from Old Trafford.
Assuming there is, the troubling question is why?
Putting aside the fact that Müller has won 18 domestic trophies with Bayern in 10 years, as well as the Champions League and World Cup, it just doesn’t line up with everything that has been said and written about United’s new approach to transfers and recruitment.
Having wasted so much money in the last six years on big name players who weren’t the right fit – Alexis Sanchez appeared to finally be the straw that broke the camel’s back – United went back to basics at the end of last season and bought very well.
Fans were less than satisfied by the quantity of signings, but most have agreed that Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have been smart buys that tick certain boxes.
Instead of chasing ready-made superstars for short-term gain, United were specifically targeting younger players they can develop long-term. English or British has been preferable, but the club also has eyes on a number of talents across Europe.
Müller is still a top player. The goals may have somewhat left his game since a stunning 2015/16 saw him score 32 in all competitions, but the assists have increased in recent seasons instead.
Yet the German is more or less the opposite of what United have been looking for. He recently celebrated his 30th birthday and a player of his status would command a large contract.
If he was even just five years younger, a possible transfer would certainly be worth considering and exploring further. However, pursuing him now just feels counterproductive.