Manchester City are routinely linked with dozens of the world's best players each year but some of them would have had bigger impacts than others.
Then there are the transfers that were close to actually happening, like the moves for Harry Maguire, Jorginho or Alexis Sanchez.
Here, we look at how some of the big names linked with City in recent years have performed elsewhere and evaluate whether they might have fared any differently at the Etihad.
City were confident of signing Alves from Juventus in 2017 but that deal ended up being hijacked by PSG.
Alves might have been a more established option at right-back than Kyle Walker, but at 37, he would not have offered the long-term solution Walker has.
One area that he may have proved useful in though, is in Europe, where he has plenty of experience in the Champions League knock-out stages.
On the face of things, Sanchez is certainly a lucky escape for City as he chose neighbours United in 2018 and has endured two dreadful years in his career.
Six goals later for United and now Inter Milan, Sanchez has had quite the fall from grace since his brilliant spell at Arsenal. Had he joined City, you'd expect Guardiola's system to have been more welcoming of Sanchez's talents.
City were close to signing Jorginho in 2018, but the Italian decided to join Chelsea when Maurizio Sarri was appointed.
Jorginho has performed well in the Premier League, but City won't feel too disappointed at missing out on his signature. Having signed Rodri a year later, City have ended up with a more suitable player, and Jorginho seems to have found a good fit at Chelsea.
The Lyon midfielder received plenty of praise from Pep Guardiola after Lyon and City met in the Champions League group phase in 2018.
However, perhaps his struggles at Tottenham have proved that Guardiola was right not to act on his praise of Ndombele, who has been in and out of the Spurs side all season.
There is definitely more to come from Ndombele, but he is another player who is not as good as Rodri has been at City.
Fred took a while to get to grips with life in the Premier League at United.
City will have felt justified in not signing the Brazilian up until last summer, but he has come on impressively this season and driven the United midfield on. He is probably the closest player to Fernandinho in the Premier League at the moment, showing why City were initially interested.
Whether he would have adapted quicker to that style at City or taken a similar amount of time to adjust to English football is uncertain – and possibly the reason why he ended up at United rather than City.
City wouldn't stretch to £80m for Maguire last summer and have suffered in defence as a result due to unfortunate injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, as well as Nicolas Otamendi's poor form.
Maguire has not been perfect at United but he has offered some stability to a poor defence this season and is already captain.
Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk always seemed Liverpool-bound, but there were suggestions that City were in the market for him as they started to think of a life without Vincent Kompany at the club.
Just like Maguire, Van Dijk has transformed his new defence and Liverpool have the silverware to show for it. The Dutchman has shown the importance of having a solid, quality defender at the back – had he joined City then it could easily have been them waiting to lift the 2020 Premier League trophy.
He's not really the one who got away given that Pep Guardiola and City have regularly dismissed any links to the world's best player. Yet still, whenever there are reports that Messi is unhappy at Barcelona, it's City who are linked.
Let's imagine he had joined City under Guardiola, then.
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City already have eight of the last nine trophies in England to their name, so that wouldn't necessarily have changed. In Europe, though, and like Alves, he might have been the difference.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago