Man United Battle Barca & Bayern For Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte
Steve Bruce...Jaap Stam...Laurent Blanc...David May? Manchester United have a rich history of rocks at the heart of their defence.
But with Nemanja Vidic already snapped up by Inter Milan, and Rio Ferdinand's legs ageing by the day, the Old Trafford club are desperately in need of some new blood in their backline - and it appears that they might have found just the prospect to lead them into the new era.
Athletic Bilbao's French centre half, Aymeric Laporte, burst onto the scene in Spain last season, and has become one of the first names on the team sheet for the Basque club over the last six months or so.
The number four in only 19, but has already been turning heads for his country's U21 side - and his club has obviously recognised his potential too, tying him down to a bumper four year contract with a hefty minimum release clause of €27.5million.
But with United at their lowest ebb for nearly three decades, can they really put a price on defensive quality? With his whole career ahead of him, this lad could become a mainstay of the Red Devils for the next 10-15 years.
As always, though, it's not going to be a simple sign, sealed, delivered for the Reds. Across Manchester, their rivals City are also keeping tabs on the player who Manuel Pellegrini will know well from his time in Spain - and the two Manchester clubs could yet both be trumped to his capture by Catalan giants Barcelona, or Bavarian big dogs Bayern Munich.
The kicker of course, could be that all of those clubs could offer the player the Champions League football that United can't. Whether incoming boss Louis Van Gaal can work his magic on the player, remains to be seen.