When the music stops on the pursuit of Harry Kane and Erling Haaland at least one of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are going to be left standing.
Three of the Premier League’s top four are in the market for a striker and Kane and Haaland are the elite names on the list at Old Trafford, the Etihad and Stamford Bridge, but two into three will leave one club as the odd one out.
Kane and City appear to only have eyes for each other at the moment, despite United and Chelsea holding an interest in the England captain.
Haaland isn’t guaranteed to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer, just as there are no certainties that Kane will manage to prise himself away from the clutches of Daniel Levy, and the Norwegian will be available for around half the price next summer.
But when that release clause kicks in on the wonderkid’s contract there will be a queue of clubs snaking around the block at Signal Iduna Park to try and sign him.
Chelsea might see forking out a premium to have him to themselves this summer as a price worth paying for a player who is as close as it gets to guaranteed goals for the next decade.
Securing Edinson Cavani for another season has taken the intensity out of United’s search for a striker this summer, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has refused to rule out a move for Kane.
Yet United’s short-term priorities lie with Jadon Sancho, Kieran Trippier and a centre back. Finding the finances to fund a move for Kane or Haaland this summer looks extremely complicated.