Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward is fast finding out that football is indeed a funny old game.
Six weeks ago he was being feted as a genius for landing three international stars - Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian - in the space of a few days. Now, with the transfer window agonisingly close to shutting, he has been made the scapegoat for the club's failure to acquire a much-needed striker and a central defender of world-class quality.
The problem with the current transfer market is that there is a dearth of quality available. The top players are generally with the top clubs, and those clubs are financially sound and have no need to sell.
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The Red Devils, for example, long pursued world-class forwards in Thomas Muller and Edinson Cavani but were unable to prise them from clubs that are amongst the best and richest in Europe - Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain respectively.
Similarly, United failed in their attempt to lure Mats Hummels - another world-class player - away from Borussia Dortmund due to the German's desire to stay with his beloved club and sign a new contract.
Fresh from the financial windfall accrued from television rights, Everton - a club that have become accustomed to cashing-in on their star players to survive - have reportedly seen fit to reject a £37 million offer from Chelsea for United target John Stones. The 21-year-old has enjoyed just one good season in top-flight football, yet still commands such a fee, owing largely to his nationality albeit.
The outcome of all this is that United will almost certainly have to wait until next year to acquire the missing pieces of their puzzle, and of course, the club will find itself in a perilous situation should Wayne Rooney succumb to injury, especially given Javier Hernandez's recent move to Bayer Leverkusen.
Ultimately, though, there is hope due for Louis van Gaal's side having managed to fix some pressing problems this summer - central midfield is the strongest it has been in years; they have genuine quality at right-back; and have found a promising replacement for the departed Angel di Maria in the form of Memphis Depay.
But problems remain that they have insufficient fire power going forward, and with David de Gea's situation still undecided, United could soon be on the look out for a replacement goalkeeper also.
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