Whether they regret it we will find out in time, but there is only so long Sir Alex Ferguson can avoid finding spending money on finding a replacement for Paul Scholes.
This summer there were star players available, but United just didn't pay the required money for them. Here are five star players they were linked with, who have now passed them by.
Spaniard Javi Martinez was linked with a switch to United throughout 2012, even before his assured performances for Bilbao against the Red Devils in the Europa League. Once the window opened though talk of a deal diminished, because of the astronomical figures being demanded by his club. Even City were priced out of signing him. There was one club who took the plunge, Bayern Munich spent £32 million on signing him, and he will form a classy midfield partnership with Bastian Schweinsteiger. Now he is at Bayern chances of a move to United are well and truly gone.
United had almost signed Luka Modric at one stage this summer, according to The Sun at least, but we doubt they ever got close. Even so the interest was genuine, but Tottenham didn't want to do business with United, who did not want to offer over £25 million. Perhaps if they were the only bidders a deal could have been struck similar to Berbatov in 2008, but interest from abroad meant it was unlikely to be a possibility. Now he has signed for Real Madrid, and any potential move to Old Trafford is off. Or is it? Fans should hope he fails to settle and ends up being made available for loan a la Nuri Sahin, even if it is a real long shot.
If you hadn't heard of Lucas Moura before the summer, it was impossible not to have done by time it was over. The Brazilian was linked to Manchester United almost daily in July and early August, and the Red Devils made a concerted effort to sign him. At one point United had a £27 million bid rejected for the teenager, and were deliberating their next move when they were gazumped by PSG. The mega-rich French club put in an irresistable offer that Sao Paolo could not refuse, and even permitted him to stay in Brazil for a few more months. Without PSG's interest who knows what could have happened, but he's gone now.
Belgian midfielder Moussa Dembele emerged as a cut-price option for United in comparison to Moura and Modric, but United didn't choose to stump up the £15 million Fulham were demanding. The Belgian was in the last year of his contract, and United were reported to have made a bid, but far below the Cottagers' valuation. Despite a storming performance at Old Trafford in United's 3-2 win against Fulham, they didn't raise their bid, and he ended up at Tottenham. If United did want him, we are sure Spurs would sell, but only for around £30 million, which makes the likelihood of a deal almost impossible. If he was going to United, this summer was the time it could have happened.
Benfica signed Axel Witsel in 2011 and sold him on for a big profit to Russian side Zenit St Petersburg earlier this week. Before that Manchester United along with Chelsea had repeatedly been linked with the tough tackling Belgian midfielder, as a solution to their perceived midfield deficiencies. United certainly could have done with him going toe to toe with international teammate Marouane Fellaini a couple of weeks ago when they lost at Goodison three weeks ago, but elected not to meet Benfica's demands. The rich Russians decided to, and will not be likely to let him leave any time soon.
Now these five are practically unavailable, who should United turn to in the transfer market next summer?
image: © henrikalexandersen