David Moyes has denied Manchester United had a disappointing summer transfer window despite buying only one player, Everton's Marouane Fellaini, who cost £27.5m in a frantic scramble on deadline day.
The manager revealed that the club intentionally allowed the midfielder's £23m buy-out clause to expire as part of a doomed joint bid for Leighton Baines, a strategy that ended with United paying £4.5m more for Fellaini than they needed to. Asked if he would have preferred to land the Belgian for the cheaper price before the clause in his contract expired on 31 July, Moyes said: "No, because we chose to do it the way we did. We wanted to keep the chance with Leighton Baines until the last minute. Only at the last minute did we split the deal. That was the way we decided to do it."
Moyes conceded that any future deal for Baines is now dead. "I would have to say so, yes," said the Scot.
Despite a summer that featured failure to land Cesc Fábregas or Thiago Alcântara from Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera and Real Madrid's Sami Khedira and Fábio Coentrão, besides Baines, Moyes said: "Did we miss out on a lot of targets? No. Was it disappointing? No. We tried to get some great players to join Manchester United and for different reasons we couldn't get them.
"In the end we knew at the start of the window that we liked Marouane Fellaini, you've heard my explanation on why we didn't do it sooner. I wanted Leighton Baines right up until the end and we tried right up until the last minute and we thought we had the Coentrão deal done and we just lost it near the end. I just wanted something there."
The deal to land Herrera fell down on the final day as Athletic refused to budge from the €36m (£30.6m) valuation of the central midfielder's release clause. This came against the bizarre backdrop of "imposters" who apparently posed as United representatives to visit Spanish Football Association headquarters to muscle in on the deal.
Moyes said: "The stuff about Herrera, we made an offer for £23m and we were never going to go to the buy-out clause. All the rubbish that was talked about that - with people going in, they were never working on behalf of us. Never at any time did we increase our offer."
Fellaini, speaking for the first time since joining United, said he hoped to emulate some of United's most famous players and that he has no concerns over his price tag. "It's not my problem – £20m, £25m or £30m – whether you are expensive or not. Players are just players. In the past you have had Cantona, Roy Keane, Beckham – I will do my best [to match them]."
Moyes suggested there was only a remote chance that Wayne Rooney could return from his serious head injury in Saturday's early kick-off against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. "It's something we'll look at. I've got to [consider whether to] take the risk because you could just knock the head and it could split open because it's right down there. It's healed really well, better."
The manager joked: "Put a big headband on it? There's a possibility I could do that, we'll see what we can do. He's in great physical shape but has a cut right in the middle of his forehead. It's knitted well, we just have to see where he is in terms of his head injury."
While Phil Jones is ruled out due to an ankle problem, Moyes is hopeful that Darren Fletcher could recover from a chronic bowel condition. "Darren came back in yesterday [Thursday]. He's a long way away from being ready and we'll use the doctors and physios' advice. We'll give him little bits of football and just pick him up over the coming months and see how he goes."