Danny Rose, Kyle Walker deals would be money well spent for Man United
Danny Rose and Kyle Walker have been the best pairing in their positions -- full backs or wing backs -- in the Premier League this season, so it would be understandable for financial heavyweights Manchester United to try to drag them away from Tottenham Hotspur.
The costs would be exceptionally high for United -- with £60 million having been suggested by one national newspaper -- but the return on that investment could be worthwhile, considering the players' potential to make an impact.
When Spurs impressively halted Chelsea's 13-match winning streak last week, by winning 2-0 at White Hart Lane, the headlines went to goal scorer Delle Alli, but the roles of Rose and Walker were pivotal, highlighting their value.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino matched Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's system, with both going for three at the back, and the performances of Rose and Walker as wing-backs helped make it work.
It was a very different sight to when United played Chelsea in the league at Stamford Bridge back in October, when Daley Blind's blunder in the opening minute helped the home side take the lead and proceed to thrash Mourinho's team 4-0.
United are a different proposition these days, but the full-backs are an area in which they could strengthen in the long-term. Luke Shaw has had a strained relationship with Mourinho and is yet to hit the heights that were expected of him as he learns his trade at the age of 21. Antonio Valencia has impressed but cannot go on for ever, having turned 31 last summer. That is quite a contrast to Rose and Walker, who are both around their peak at 26.
United's main alternatives to their first-choice full backs have weaknesses that make them unsuitable for long-term roles there -- Blind lacks pace, Marcos Rojo can be rash, and Matteo Darmian has been a flop -- so that could make a drive for recruitment in this area all the more tempting.
Rose and Walker's showing against Chelsea was no one-off either, as they have shown form over a sustained period. It is a familiar sight to see one of them advancing at pace, offering threat from a flank, and delivering an assist. And, although it is their creativity that has been catching the eye, the defensive side of their game is not to be sniffed at.
The fact that they offer a manager tactical versatility -- the chance to switch between three and four at the back -- makes them all the more useful.
The problem for United would be that the pair have signed five-year contracts this season -- so it would take a huge overall offer to poach them. Spurs are also not pushovers in the market, but may be tempted to cash in on one of the pair. They would stand to make a big profit on either player, having shrewdly signed them at a relatively low cost from Yorkshire-based Football League clubs -- Doncaster-born Rose was signed from Leeds United while Walker came through the ranks at hometown club Sheffield United -- rather than spending big.
Should United need references to prove that it is worth the cost then Rose and Walker's high-profile teammates have delivered glowing ones recently. Alli said last month that it was "a joy to play with them" and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was not afraid to compare them with France legends Bixente Lizarazu and Lilian Thuram, saying: "They can be as important as them for Spurs and for the England national team too."
For all United's frustrations, they look like a club on the up again and won the FA Cup just last season, so playing for them is more attractive again for many outsiders. Despite the way Tottenham have been lauded recently, their most recent honour was the League Cup in 2008. The lure of a bigger club can unsettle even the most settled professionals.
For United, whether it is signing Walker, Rose or both of them, it would be a statement of intent and money well spent. The problem, though, is persuading Spurs to do business.
Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.