Manchester United did not follow through with buying Jose Mourinho's transfer targets due to their misgiving about players he had identified. The thought was they would waste tens of millions of pounds on a short-term fix.

Mourinho’s enthusiasm for Harry Maguire was not shared by the Old Trafford decision-makers and when the club approached Leicester they were put off by the kind of fee that would have been necessary to sign the England international in the wake of Virgil van Dijk’s £75m transfer from Southampton to Liverpool last season.

The suspicion of United’s hierarchy is Mourinho is taking a short‑term view rather than thinking more strategically about what would be better for the club in the coming years.

Mourinho sees things differently and can argue that, without new signings, it is unrealistic to expect his team to overhaul Manchester City.