Manchester United were reportedly eager to sign Barcelona youngster Rafinha during the summer transfer window, but the 21-year-old preferred to stay at the Camp Nou.
However, Mundo Deportivo state that the player had no interest in signing for either Manchester club after being given assurances over his future by new boss Luis Enrique. [...]
His form [while on loan at Celta Vigo last season] sparked United and City's interest and both English clubs put together £23m offers but they failed to lure the attacking midfielder due to Enrique's guarantees.
The Red Devils have seemingly made up for missing out on the young star by bringing in a wealth of attacking talent from elsewhere, including Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao.
While United are still short in deeper-lying central-midfield areas, Rafinha would not necessarily have solved this problem considering his attacking nature.
The Brazilian has had a mixed start to the season at Barca, per Bleacher Report's Karl Matchett, but he showed his quality last season and should certainly be an asset for the La Liga giants for a long time yet:
Karl Matchett @karlmatchett
Xavi on for his first minutes of the league season. Rafinha not impressive in the main in Iniesta's position/role.2014-8-31 18:28:49
Another star player who stayed put over the summer is Juan Cuadrado, who remained at Fiorentina despite being heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford, per Greg Stobart and David Craddock of Goal.com.
The Serie A club's executive president, Mario Cognigni, has revealed that United—or anyone else for that matter—never even made an official bid for the versatile Colombian midfielder, per Sky Sport (via David Amoyal on GianlucaDiMarzio.com):
The club always wanted to keep a champion like [Cuadrado] on the team. We consider him a champion that can contribute a lot to reaching Fiorentina’s objectives. The club always had the intent of keeping him in Florence and no official offer arrived for him.
Considering the 26-year-old's versatility—he can play across the midfield and in attack as well as in the right-wing-back position—he seemed an ideal player to fit into new Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal's system.
Furthermore, he showed his immense quality at the World Cup, scoring once and assisting four, per FIFA, while beIN Sports' Tancredi Palmeri reported he was a genuinely viable transfer option for the right fee:
Tancredi Palmeri @tancredipalmeri
Unlikely,and done - if they bid 40m€... RT @Jacksongichuhi1: @tancredipalmeri whats your take on vidal and cuadrado to man united? #AskTanc2014-8-14 14:55:57
United ended up paying a whopping £59.7 million for Di Maria, per Simon Stone of BBC Sport, to bolster their attacking-midfield options, and it is thus odd they never even bid for Cuadrado, who would have been far cheaper.
However, Di Maria showed in a friendly for Argentina against Germany on Wednesday that he is one of the best in the business and may well be worth his transfer fee at United, per 101 Great Goals:
101 Great Goals @102greatgoals
Individual Highlights: Angel Di Maria stars for Argentina with goal & 3 assists v Germany http://t.co/PdifWXMgo0 http://t.co/DGdfADxnxQ2014-9-4 08:00:21
While United missed out on Rafinha and Cuadrado, the signings of Falcao, Di Maria, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera should see them improve dramatically on last season's debacle.
The Old Trafford outfit have only picked up two points from their first three matches of the new top-flight season but will play their first match since the transfer window shut at home to QPR on Sept. 14.
With the quality they now boast in the side, United must surely be set for a vast improvement on the early displays of the 2014-15 season and the west London side could feel the full force of the new-look Red Devils.