Jose Mourinho has refused to be drawn on Manchester United's reported pursuits of Eric Dier and Nemanja Matic but remains confident the club can make at least one more signing this summer.
Having completed the signings of Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku, United's attention has turned to reinforcing their midfield. Wide-ranging reports on Saturday (22 July) claimed the club were closing in on the signing of Chelsea midfielder Matic, after a £50m transfer was sanctioned by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.
It would appear however that the Serbia international is Mourinho's second-choice for the holding midfield role, with Tottenham Hotspur's Dier the manager's preferred option. The Observer report, however, that United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has approached the north London side three times this summer with bids of £25m, £30m and another close to £40m, only to be told on each occasion the England international is not for sale.
United's pre-season campaign continues against Real Madrid on Sunday with Mourinho quizzed on the club's latest transfer news at a pre-match press conference. But when quizzed on Dier and Matic, Mourinho said: "Names are difficult for me. As you know, the players belong to clubs, the players are in pre-season, the managers and owners are not happy if you speak about them. The same as me," he said, PA Sport report.
Mourinho's plan for the summer had been to bring in four new faces as he did last year – with Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic the club's remaining target. Inter's refusal to lower their £49m asking price for the Croatia international has complicated matters, however.
"I have told that my plan was to get four players to give balance to the team in all the different areas. To make a better squad, but with the development of the market, you know, I was getting the feedback from Mr Woodward, I was analysing myself from distance because I never get involved.
"But from distance, it is easy to feel [and] I repeat the same, the market is very difficult. If the club has no chance to give me the four players, then (so) be it. I like my group, I like my players and I go with them."
Mourinho remains optimistic, however, and says his original plan of four new faces is still possible. "But I still have the hope I can have a third player, who knows a fourth but at least a third."
One player not on the club's radar however is Gareth Bale. Despite the frequent links with a move to Old Trafford, Mourinho admits the club recognised the Wales international had no interest in leaving Real Madrid, leaving them with little choice to abandon their pursuit.
"It is the same [as Ronaldo]," Mourinho said. "You have contacts and feelings, you understand things, and it was clear that Bale likes Madrid, the challenge and situation.
"They are in a very good situation now and I never felt a desire for him to leave, so why waste time on it? No."