A mere 32 days have passed since Manchester United relinquished their grip on the European Cup against Barcelona in Rome, but manager Sir Alex Ferguson has lost much more than football's premier trophy in that short time.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been allowed to head through the Old Trafford exit door for Real Madrid - for a world record 80 million pounds -- and Carlos Tevez has rejected a five-year contract worth ?110,000 a week in order to move to Manchester City, a transfer which is likely to be rubber-stamped July 1.
Ronaldo and Tevez delivered 41 goals between them last season. Despite a long-standing interest in the 25 million ponds-rated Lyon forward Karim Benzema, Ferguson has yet to lure a proven goalscorer to Old Trafford to fill the void, according to the Telegraph on Sunday.
In contrast, Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has been steadily ticking the boxes in the blue half of Manchester with a 12 million pounds move for Gareth Barry and last week's 17 million pounds acquisition of Roque Santa Cruz bolstering City's squad.
Barring an unlikely about-turn by Tevez, the Argentine is set to be the next man in at Eastlands, and City are confident of adding Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o and Everton defender Joleon Lescott before the season begins on August 15.
City's ability to outbid and outpay their rivals has given them a huge advantage in this summer's transfer market. While United and Chelsea remain determined only to do deals that make financial sense.