A change in manager, no change at the top, and a number of high-profile exits created the mood music for the most part of the summer, but the final three weeks brought deals, wins and a little cause for optimism.
In the end the deal for Andy Carroll in the final minutes of the summer transfer window took United’s incomings to five – but what about of those other, unsuccessful ‘links’?
Here we take a look at the 15 most outlandish, obscure and downright unlikely deals of the window that was.
1. Kylian Mbappe - Paris Saint-Germain
OK, so this wasn't a real rumour from a source but it was a one that built up following the Newcastle United takeover talk earlier in the summer. United fans went from drooling over the Frenchman, to celebrating Andy Carroll's arrival. Same difference.
Photo: Lintao Zhang
2. Odisseas Vlachodimos - Benfica
Benfica keeper Vlachodimos, a Greece international, was linked with the Magpies in January and then again in the summer. With Martin Dubravka's departure never likely, this is one that can be consigned to the unlikely category.
Photo: Maja Hitij
3. Juan Mata - Manchester United
In the end Juan Mata ended up signing a new deal at Old Trafford, but for a little while he was available - and with Rafa Benitez still at the this World Cup winner appeared to be on the radar in May.
Photo: Matthew Peters
4. Alfredo Morelos - Glasgow Rangers
Rangers wanted more than £20million for the fiery, unpredictable goalscorer so this never looked likely. The Colombian would have brought Tino Asprilla levels of madness back to Tyneside.
Photo: Ian MacNicol