Every move Manchester United has made this summer has been geared towards catching defending European champions Barcelona, but the deal that might put them over the top is the one that hasn't happened yet.
The defending Premiership champions and Champions League runners-up have already landed winger Ashley Young, goalkeeper David de Gea and defender Phil Jones, but Sir Alex Ferguson has his sights set on Inter Milan superstar midfielder Wesley Sneijder.
The 27-year-old Dutch playmaker has been linked to a move to United all summer long, but with talks heating up in the last two weeks, a deal seems to be imminent.
According to a report from Mirror Football, United expect to have a deal finished by the end of the week. Sneijder's representatives are expected to talk to Inter this week to ask for permission to officially discuss terms at Old Trafford, in what would likely be a £32 million deal for the 27-year-old.
If United manage to seal this deal (and that's far from a guarantee at this point, although it's becoming more likely every day), is Sneijder enough to get them to their ultimate goal of surpassing Barcelona and bringing home a Champions League title?
The one area where United falls short of the Spanish giants is the midfield. For all their talent on the wings, United don't have anyone capable of making plays, creating chances, or taking shots from distance.
In Sneijder, they would have that midfielder. He's a world-class midfielder with a nose for goal, and few players are as skilled with the ball at their feet. He's a leader on the pitch, and is capable of filling United's needs perfectly with his gifts on the ball.
Sneijder's not the best defensive midfielder on the planet, but with players like Park Ji-Sung and Michael Carrick on the roster, he doesn't have to be. He simple needs to make plays and create chances for the strikers, and he's fully capable of doing that at Old Trafford.
With the Dutchman in the fold, the playing field becomes much more level between the two powerhouse clubs. Suddenly, Barca's midfield advantage is lessened, and Ferguson has the versatility to play a variety of different looks in the middle. He can throw myriad combinations of midfielders out there and has the firepower to match Barcelona's relentless onslaught.
Even without Sneijder in the fold, United are one of the few clubs on Earth capable of consistently hanging with the Spanish giants. Their attack would still be fantastic, and could pull a stunner if they play perfectly.
But with the 27-year-old maestro making those fantastic passes and creating magic through the midfield, United aren't underdogs anymore. Suddenly, they're on a level playing field with Barca, and a clash between them in the Champions League would undoubtedly pit the two most talented clubs against one another.
Sneijder's skills as a scorer and playmaker are just what United need to take down Barcelona.
Even with Sneijder, United are still facing a tall order. Barca's front three of Lionel Messi, David Villa and Alexis Sanchez ranks among the most explosive on the planet, while the midfield featuring Xavi and Andres Iniesta is one of the best in the world.
But with Sneijder, United trot out one of the few rosters on the planet capable of matching that talent level, and even exceeding it. Strikers Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov are all world class, while the midfield is full of a variety of talent, from Sneijder to wings Ashley Young, Nani, and Antonio Valencia, with youngster Tom Cleverly waiting in the wings.
The defense is as strong as any on the planet, courtesy of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the middle, Patrice Evra and Rafael on the outside, with Phil Jones, Fabio and Chris Smalling coming off the bench. Goalkeeper David de Gea is still young, but has the potential to be a superstar between the sticks.
If that doesn't sound like a roster capable of beating the Spanish giants, I don't know what does.
At the very least, adding Sneijder makes United the heavy favorites to meet Barca and push them to the brink of elimination in the Champions League. While Ferguson's club might not be better than Barca, the talented midfielder levels the playing field in a way that no other player can.
He gives them the flexibility and skill in the midfield to match the Catalans, and with their excellent defensive unit, United would be capable of taking down the unbeatable Barcelona.