Manchester United's promising start to the season, which saw them top the Premier League for the first time since August 2013 back in the autumn, has dissipated into a bit of a shambles.
Hope that they might actually win the title has all but gone, while there are even fears that they might not finish in the top four, which would mean they won't qualify for next season's Champions League.
That hasn't stopped the rumor mill from going into overdrive about potential purchases Manchester United might make in either the next few weeks just before the transfer window closes at the end of January, or in the summer.
And, according to speculation, one of the players that Louis Van Gaal has his eyes on is Real Madrid's James Rodriguez. But it's not just the Colombian forward that Manchester United are keen on picking up from the Bernabeu, because rumors have also emerged that they want to purchase Toni Kroos too.
#MUFC could be about to offer James Rodriguez 'a way out' of Real Madrid. https://t.co/ppXHVV0tvm pic.twitter.com/OWoZtYcQsiAccording to the Sun, via 90 Minutes, Manchester United are preparing a bid of over $100 million for the 24-year-old Rodriguez. If Madrid were to accept this bid and Rodriguez agreed to move to northern England, then it would make him the most expensive player in British history.
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) January 15, 2016
But what are the chances of Manchester United actually being able to secure a deal for Rodriguez? On the one hand James Rodriguez has found himself going further and further down the Real Madrid attacking pecking order over the last few months.
However, Real Madrid still regard the hugely talented forward as a key component for their future, and with Cristiano Ronaldo now over 30 years of age, many at the club will assume that Rodriguez is perfectly suited to fill the Portuguese star's shoes.
There's another rather huge obstacle that could probably stop Manchester United from acquiring both James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos from Real Madrid. The Spanish giants were recently given a transfer ban by FIFA that will stop them buying any new players until 2017.
Despite this ban and the restrictions it would impose on Real Madrid, that didn't stop speculation that they are willing to sell the German midfielder Kroos to Old Trafford from amassing.
According to A Bola, via Metro, Real Madrid are keen to sign Edison Cavani from Paris Saint Germain. In order to raise funds for this move, the La Liga side have reportedly decided to sell Kroos to Manchester United for around $58 million.
The rumors also allege that Real Madrid want to push through with these transfers in the next few weeks just in case their ban isn't delayed or overturned. Madrid are concerned about their lack of firepower up front, which is why they have been linked to the likes of Cavani, as well as Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.
Because of the urgency of Real Madrid's transfer plans, speculation that they will try and buy David De Gea from Manchester United again have also emerged. Real failed to lure De Gea away from Old Trafford in the summer, even though they had a bid of over $35 million accepted, as they had a problem confirming the deal before the window closed.
The news out of Old Trafford is that David de Gea is staying at Manchester United. #SSNHQ pic.twitter.com/lAz572Uq9IBut Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal was quick to insist that De Gea won't be leaving. According to the Manchester Evening News, Van Gaal told a press conference on Friday that he isn't worried about how Real Madrid's transfer ban will impact his team.
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) January 15, 2016
"I don't know, because I don't that kind of thing plays in the mind of David De Gea and I have never thought," Van Gaal explained, before talking about De Gea has overcome the issues that almost led to his departure. "That was in the period before the transfer period, but now I am seeing David De Gea who is enjoying being here at Manchester United and playing good games."
[Image via Ian MacNicol/Getty Images]