The centre-back position didn't become an issue until this summer and since then the club's hierarchy have felt that the options open to them have not warranted the investment required.
Jose Mourinho has not had the best of times at Manchester United this pre-season. "The market closes today, so it is time, at least for me to stop thinking about the market because the market will be closed". "I'd prefer to look to the bench and to have them rather than to have 16-year-old boys without experience and without the power to be Premier Leagues players directly", said Mourinho.
Mourinho, meanwhile, is adamant he is happy with his squad despite the very quiet end to the window.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been grabbing headlines of late for his usual antics but this story seems far from anything that most of the United faithful would have wanted to hear.
Mina, Gomes: Everton sign Barça pair, plus Shakhtar's Bernard
Everton's season-long loan deal for Portugal's Gomes will see them pay 2.25 million euros and the player's wages. The fee could rise by 1.5 million euros and Barcelona have inserted a buy-back clause in the player's contract.
And now the transfer window has slammed shut, the comments of football agent Paul Stefani - who works with Axel Witsel - show United had some pretty major plans for their midfield this summer.
"I see him very well but we need words with that small group to see if they can give us a hand".
"N'Golo Kante topped his list."
"I focus just on what we have and we go with everything we have to the first match".
That's right, United's number one target was none other than Kante.
Lucas Digne reveals he rejected Reds twice before Everton move
It's an exciting challenge. 'I saw a few games when he played for Watford and I said, "Oh this guy is crazy",' said the Frenchman. He's a good player and a good guy'.
Foxes fans were given the double boost on Thursday of confirmation of Harry Maguire's presence this season following United's interest and the announcement that Jamie Vardy has signed a new long-term contract. They did good business with Fred.
That will hardly have endeared Martial, who was left out of the weekend friendly against Bayern Munich, to Mourinho, although the manager insisted that omission was not a punishment.
"I'm going to enjoy this season".
And anything short of winning the trophy will leave fingers pointing at their chaotic summer transfer window that, ultimately, promised so much.
Until now. Last season, Manchester United finished a distant second.
Manchester United vs Leicester
He has already signed three players this summer after Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant arrived for a combined £68 million.