Man United have seen two of their top summer transfer targets move to Premier League rivals, so has Louis Van Gaal blown their title chances?
The Red Devils were reportedly interested in both Nicolas Otamendi and Pedro, but through a combination of uncertainty and their rivals moving in, they have missed out on both.
Otamendi’s switch to Man City was confirmed on Thursday, as was Pedro’s arrival at Chelsea.
It isn’t anything new for United either. While their level of interest may have varied with each player, the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane and Christian Benteke were all linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer.
Coupled with the suggestions that goalkeeper David De Gea may well find himself at the Bernabeu before the window closes, this could be a disastrous final fortnight before Deadline Day.
Van Gaal should be commended for his earlier work as he has bought wisely this summer. Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay will form a new core to this side and will make them contenders.
However, the Dutchman’s squad is not nearly deep enough and a few injuries or lack of form could see them lose momentum at any stage and find themselves in another battle just to make the Champions League.
With Daley Blind filling in at centre-back as Wayne Rooney continues to struggle to find his goal-scoring touch, how long can this efficient and at times exciting United side continue to overachieve?
Man City have made an impressive start to the season and look as though they have the players in place to snatch their title back. Although Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool may face similar problems to United, they all look capable of making a sustained run.
If Rooney doesn’t find his form soon, and if Chris Smalling picks up an injury, Van Gaal is going to have to earn his money and ensure that United continue to compete for honours.
While this is all hypothetical at the time of writing, it is not beyond possible that the Dutch tactician could be facing this issues before long. As a result, the club’s failures in the transfer market so far will only really be felt as the season progresses and they could have just cost themselves a potential title push.