Manchester United made several big splashes late in the transfer window, dealing for the likes of Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind, but according to several reports, the Red Devils had even bigger plans.
ESPN FC's Miguel Delaney claims United attempted to sign both Mats Hummels and William Carvalho in swap-for-cash deals, falling short on both fronts.
The team was linked with a move for the German centre-back throughout the summer, and, per Delaney, United were willing to offer Borussia Dortmund £20 million and Shinji Kagawa for his services. Dortmund refused, opting to sign the Japanese midfielder for £8 million.
Sporting Lisbon were offered a similar deal for Carvalho, with the Red Devils suggesting Brazilian midfielder Anderson and a non-disclosed fee.
Meanwhile, talkSPORT cites several Spanish reports claiming the Mancunians made a late bid for Barcelona youngster Adama Traore. The 18-year-old has been on the club's radar for a while now, and with limited opportunities available with the Catalans, manager Louis van Gaal tried to pry him away late.
Despite missing on all these reported targets, United still set a club transfer record, per Delaney, and brought in several star players who are expected to play pivotal roles in the team's fortunes.
In an interview with Dutch paper De Telegraaf (h/t Delaney), Van Gaal expressed his gratitude for the way United handled the situation, claiming former club Bayern Munich would not have been so forgiving:
At around the same time at Bayern, I was called in to explain myself. By Hoeness. But you know what the people at United do? They just keep buying! They support me! They have faith in me! You can feel that, as a person, too.
While fans won't like finding out several star players snubbed their favourite team, the report carries a silver lining. Hummels was never likely to leave Dortmund, and Carvalho is still expected to be moved at some point during the 2014-15 season.
Fans now know the Red Devils were actively chasing these players, and they'll likely do so again when the January window opens. If the likes of Falcao and Di Maria can turn the club's fortunes around, Old Trafford will be a far more appealing destination for top players by that time.
United clearly aren't afraid to throw money at world-class players, so if Van Gaal and chief executive Ed Woodward identify a need in the squad, there's a strong chance they'll address it with another top player in a few months' time.
The flurry of late signings stands in stark contrast with the team's business in the early parts of the transfer window, where they seemingly couldn't deal for a single reported target. According to Delaney, Van Gaal asked for reinforcements after United's 2-1 loss against Swansea, and club officials responded.
The Red Devils clearly believe in their new manager, so expect the club to be very active once again when the winter transfer window opens.