Manchester United's failure this summer can be highlighted from the amount of first-choice targets Louis Van Gaal's side have missed out on.
Manchester United’s transfer window so far has been unexpectedly quiet, as evidenced by the photograph above.
When Louis Van Gaal took over in the summer many expected an influx of big name additions but few have come.
United may have spent a considerable amount of money on Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and, most recently, Marcos Rojo, but they are still a long way behind Van Gaal’s initial plans after taking over.
When he was appointed, the experienced Dutch manager reportedly provided a list of targets which included Cesc Fabregas, Mats Hummels, Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos and Ezequiel Garay, but Shaw is the only one to have been acquired.
It leaves United’s squad looking short on quality and further question marks have been raised after they lost their opening Premier League game to Swansea City.
The Red Devils are expected to launch a title challenge this season, but look some way off being able to do that after having what can only be described as a poor window so far.
Although deals could still be concluded for reported targets Arturo Vidal and Angel Di Maria before the window closes at the end of the month, there can be no doubting this squad has less class than Van Gaal had intended when he took over.
Ed Woodward has come under a lot of criticism for his failure to land first-choice targets over the past year and United must make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes as they did under David Moyes.
In an interview with has recently come out, it was revealed that Moyes had tried and failed to bring in proven quality – with Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabregas all targeted by the club last summer.
And this consistent failure to land first-choice targets threatens to leave United falling even further behind their title rivals.
They have been shown up by Chelsea this summer, after the Blues secured their three top targets – Fabregas, Filipe Luis and Diego Costa - in swift fashion at the beginning of the summer, whilst Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have arguably done better business than Van Gaal’s side.
Indeed, it is rare to see a footballing powerhouse like United struggle to so much to sign players in transfer windows.
Whatever happens, they must stop this problem. They may not have Champions League football this year, but they are still a massive draw for any player in world football, due to their glistening history, and there can be no excuses if they fall short due to a lack of signings this season.
They have under two weeks to rectify the obvious problems in their squad – namely at centre-back and central midfield – and give Van Gaal a squad that he can achieve his expectations with otherwise they risk another disappointing season that they are so desperate to avoid a repeat of.