The Red Devils endured a largely frustrating transfer window despite a late deadline-day flurry of activity, having spent most of the summer trying – and failing – to sign Jadon Sancho.
Borussia Dortmund were always adamant that the England international would not be allowed to leave after their self-imposed deadline back in August, with United belatedly giving up their pursuit just before the window closed.
Instead, they brought in veteran free agent Edinson Cavani, who has not played since March, and added some young attacking players for the future in the form of Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri.
United had been heavily linked with a loan deal for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele too, though the move never materialised, and the Frenchman was one of many players United looked at as an alternative to Sancho.
According to The Athletic, United had been keeping a watchful eye on Havertz when he was at Bayer Leverkusen and first made contact with the German club back in January.
But they were quoted a mammoth fee of €100million (£90.8m) and decided not to follow-up with an offer, giving Chelsea a free run at the German playmaker.
The west London club swooped in and ultimately agreed an initial £72m deal for Havertz, though the transfer could rise by a further £18m if various add-ons and clauses are triggered – which would make him by far Chelsea’s most expensive ever signing.
In addition to looking at Havertz, United also reached out to a number of other players and got increasingly more panicked as the deadline drew closer.
Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic, Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic and Juventus’ Douglas Costa – who moved to Bayern Munich on loan on deadline day – were all contacted without any success as United tried to bring in a late alternative to Sancho.
According to The Athletic’s report, some among United’s hierarchy were left ‘exasperated’ by the entire transfer window saga and felt they left their business too late once again.