Consider: a footballer. One who was key to a recent title bid, one who scored crucial goals as his side charged towards the prize at ten thousand miles an hour, before slipping — painfully! cruelly! hilariously! — at the last.
Consider: that same footballer, who this season watched his team sag apologetically out of the Champions League and slump back down the league table. One who has, consequently, kicked right off about a new contract and his place in the team, and who has started to make noises about, maybe, possibly, wanting to leave.
Consider: Liverpool. Last summer, they were the club to join; they were splashing cash with abandon and they were thinking big. This summer, with the coaching staff sacked and the pursestrings pulled tight, with no Champions League football and a manager hanging by a thread, they kind of look like a good team to leave.
Consider: Manchester United. A big club with a lot of business to do. A rich club with lots of money to spend. A club that, qualifiers permitting, will be playing in the Champions League next season and that, Louis van Gaal's predictions allowing, will also be competing for the title. A club that, all things considered, for which it might just be worth crossing one of English football's great divides.
All seems to be falling into place, doesn't it? Well, we bring you sad news, folks. It's not going to happen:
The dream is dead, people. The dream is dead.