Manchester United chief executive admitted in an interview at the weekend with fanzine United We Stand that midfield and left-back were the two key areas David Moyes and himself decided to address in the summer.
We all know by now just how much of a dog's dinner they made of their attempts to do so, signing Marouane Fellaini with an hour to go on deadline day, and missing out on a left-back altogether.
The Red Devils wanted to sign Leighton Baines from Everton, and it was reported earlier this week that United are determined to renew their interest in the England international.
The Express reported United want to bid £15 million for the player, who Roberto Martinez confirmed last week there were no plans in the pipeline to offer a new contract, contradicting previous suggestions.
Baines would replace Patrice Evra, who was forced to deny claims he wants out at the end of the season, but with his position publicly undermined by David Moyes, he is tipped to rejoin former club Monaco next summer.
In consequence, the same report claims Everton want to move for Chelsea left-back Ryan Bertrand as a possible replacement.
Bertrand has emerged as a dependable back-up for Ashley Cole in recent seasons, but he was recently demoted to third choice in Chelsea's Champions League win over Schalke, with right-back Cesar Azpilicueta preferred, although he was recalled for the midweek win over Arsenal in the League Cup.
A move to Everton however could pan out positively for Bertrand, where he would get the opportunity to develop first choice and even establish his own England credentials by playing week in and week out.
There may be a further knock-on effect for Chelsea if United sign Baines, and they receive a tempting offer for Bertrand; it may force their hand to go and buy a new left-back to cover for Cole, or replace him altogether.
Top of the list should be Luke Shaw of Southampton, a self-confessed Chelsea fan and Premier League star with the Saints, also linked with United, himself a future England international.
Whether this play out in January or next summer, or protracted over both, it looks like an interesting merry-go-round to watch.
image: © Ben Sutherland