The summer transfer window couldn't have started better for Manchester United. Chief Executive Ed Woodward conducted some swift business as Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger arrived at Old Trafford. Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Romero also joined on a free from Sampdoria.
Indeed things were looking good for everyone concerned with United. Woodward's first summer shambles was quickly becoming a distant memory.
However the club's severe lack of transfer activity since Romero arrived has once again raised concerns. Seeing targets such as Nicolas Otamendi and Pedro join rival clubs has left many a United fan infuriated. The indecisiveness and naivety that plagued Woodward's first summer at the club appears to have returned.
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Here's a team of United transfer targets that have got away during Woodward's time as CEO.
GK: ASMIR BEGOVIC
United were linked to the Stoke goalkeeper while Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge and the rumours continued long after he left. The Bosnian became one of the most highly rated 'keepers in the league during his time with the Potters.
For a long time he was seen as a potentially excellent back-up to David de Gea. With the Spaniard linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer he was seen as someone who could be the club's new number one. Alas he joined Chelsea and United are still to replace de Gea.
RB: NATHANIEL CLYNE
The Red Devils were linked to the Southampton right-back for many months. After a season fielding Antonio Valencia at right-back, Clyne appeared to be the answer to United's problems in the position. Yet no move materialised and the club were reported to have pulled out of the race to sign the Englishman.
The 24-year-old ended up joining bitter rivals Liverpool. Thankfully this blow was softened by the capture of Matteo Darmian, who looks to be an excellent signing.
CB: SERGIO RAMOS
Needless to say United fans were excited at the prospect of Ramos coming in when rumours of a switch to Old Trafford began in June. United were reported to have submitted a £28.6 million bid for the Spanish international.
The rumours simply wouldn't go away but as the summer progressed it quickly became clear that the club was fighting a losing battle. It came as no surprise when Ramos committed his future to Madrid, once again Manchester United had been used by a player to get a bigger contract.
CB: NICOLAS OTAMENDI
Another centre-back linked to United this summer. The 27-year-old was one of the best centre-halves in La Liga last season but Ramos appeared to be the clubs primary target. When a move for the Real Madrid man broke down it was widely assumed that United would make a move for Otamendi.
This did not happen though, despite being linked to the club for many months the Argentine ended up joining Manchester City in a £32 million deal. That's only slightly more than United bid for Ramos. Did they pursue the wrong man?
LB: LEIGHTON BAINES
One from the short-lived David Moyes era. Moyes took over as manager of the club in the summer of 2013 and United were persistently linked with a move for the Everton defender Leighton Baines. United went as far as submitting a £28 million double bid for Baines and Marouane Fellaini.
Unsurprisingly Everton rejected the offer describing it as "derisory and insulting". Despite his links to Moyes, Baines proved to be another transfer target that Woodward failed to sign in his first summer as CEO.
CDM: SAMI KHEDRIA
United were linked with the German in David Moyes' first, and only, summer transfer window. The club was desperate for a new holding midfielder. The player claimed that United made an eleventh hour bid to sign him on deadline day.
They couldn't get the deal done though and the club's one new signing, Marouane Fellaini, was deployed in the defensive midfield role, which proved to be a disaster. Speculation over a move continued during Louis van Gaal's time in charge but he joined Juventus this summer.
CM: CESC FABREGAS
One of United's most high profile targets in the summer of 2013, Moyes was quite clearly desperate to add the Barcelona midfielder to his squad. The Scotsman confirmed that a bid, reported to be in the region of £30 million, had been tabled for the Spaniard.
With Fabregas getting limited playing time at Barcelona, this looked like a deal that might get over the line. As was the norm in that summer, it didn't. He joined Chelsea last season, recording 18 assists in his first campaign.
CM: THIAGO ALCANTARA
Fabregas wasn't the only Barcelona player the club was linked to in that disastrous summer. Thiago Alcantara was another struggling for game time at the Nou Camp. Thus this should have been a reasonably easy deal to complete, indeed it looked all but done at times during the summer.
Frustratingly the youngster opted to move to Bayern Munich instead. There were reports that Ryan Giggs had stepped in to block the deal but the reality was another top target had failed to arrive.
The latest transfer gaffe by United. It looked a foregone conclusion that the Barcelona winger would arrive at the club. Sky Sports reported that United had "agreed personal terms" with the player. A fee in the region of £21 million seemed reasonable for a player of his quality.
With the squad quite clearly needing more goals, who better than a player who has averaged 15 goals a season over the last five years? Amazingly this was another deal that United failed to conclude.
Ed Woodward travelled to Barcelona to get it over the line but the Red Devils suddenly dropped their interest in the player. Whatever the reason for this, United missed out on a top player and saw a rival strengthen as Pedro moved to Chelsea.
RW: GARETH BALE
Few have been more frequently linked to Manchester United than Welsh winger Gareth Bale. David Moyes admitted earlier this year that he was "desperate" to bring the Spurs man to Old Trafford back in 2013. An attempt to hijack his £85.3 million move to Real Madrid failed miserably as the player moved to Spain.
The 26-year-old has performed well for the Madrid giants, but criticism from the terraces sparked speculation that he could be on the way out this summer. There were reports that two bids of £100 million had been submitted by United, to no avail. Instead he looks set to stay at Madrid, but United fans can continue to dream.
ST: ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI
Strongly linked with United in Sir Alex Ferguson's later years, the Pole looked capable of providing everything they required from a striker. Lewandowski had just a year remaining on his contract when Moyes took charge of United.
In theory he should have been available for a cheaper price because of this, however the striker did not move to United or indeed anyone that summer. Rather he continued for one more year at Borussia Dortmund before moving to Bayern Munich on a free transfer. How United could use a striker of his calibre right now.News Now - Sport News