In a bid to put a bitter summer of transfer humiliation behind them, David Moyes will sit down with the under-fire Manchester United vice chairman, Ed Woodward, in the coming days to draw up a list of targets for January.
Before they do so they will look back, if not in anger then certainly with regret, at a summer of missed opportunities that culminated in 24 hours of screwball transfer deadline-day farce. Amid continued questions about where it all went wrong for the Premier League champions, down a succession of blind alleys and with a string of embarrassing rebuffs, it is understood they will dust themselves down and begin identifying the players they want to bring in during the next window.
Meanwhile, the Manchester United Supporters' Trust is seeking a meeting with Woodward to discuss a range of issues that are likely to include the level of the club's ambition to compete with the best in Europe.
Moyes, for all his public stoicism, is likely to be privately concerned about the club's failure to land a string of major targets and will be unwilling to see this summer's farce replayed as tragedy. The club's disastrous summer was summed up by their deadline-day humiliation.
The pair will take joint responsibility, with Moyes forced to continue to dead-bat questions in public as Woodward waits to make his first public pronouncements in his vice-chairman's role, but in truth it is not the manager who must shoulder the larger share of the blame. Beyond Woodward, the Glazer family is responsible for the fact that United went into the summer with a new manager and a new man at the helm in the boardroom.
The fallout continued when it emerged that the delegation that arrived at the offices of the Spanish league on Monday night expecting to finalise the purchase of Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera were far from being the imposters or pranksters initially suggested.
In fact they were experienced lawyers who, Spanish league sources claimed, were indeed working on behalf of United. Adding to the malaise of confusion, Old Trafford insiders continued to insist they were acting without authorisation.
In any case, under the Spanish system it would have been incumbent on the player to meet his release clause. United will have known the size of the clause and should have been fully aware that Bilbao would not let Herrera go for any less.
Instead they continued to try and haggle to the end as Bilbao held firm, only finally walking away late on Monday. Even then there was still time for one last embarrassment as a loan deal for Real Madrid's Portuguese left-back Fábio Coentrão fell through after the Spanish club failed to secure a replacement. As with their other transfer-window dealings, it made United look indecisive and ill-informed.
Thiago Alcântara, Daniele De Rossi, Luka Modric and, it emerged on Tuesday, Galatasaray's Wesley Sneijder were all considered but remained beyond reach.
The tone was set earlier in the summer with the failed pursuit of Cesc Fábregas. Even as sources at other clubs confidently asserted that the former Arsenal midfielder would remain at Barcelona for at least one more season, United were led up the garden path amid a succession of bids that went nowhere.
In the middle of all that, Woodward cancelled a scheduled media appearance to return from United's tour of Australia on "urgent transfer business" that also failed to materialise.
Amid recriminations over a summer of transfer dealing to forget for Woodward, the former investment banker who masterminded Manchester United's exponential commercial growth before taking over from David Gill on 1 July, there will be renewed questions over the Glazers' succession policy.
The balance that worked so well in the latter years of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign despite the onerous financial demands of the Glazer business model, with Woodward effectively running the business side of the club from London and Gill overseeing football matters from Manchester, has been upset.
Some are already openly wondering whether United would not have been better off appointing an experienced European director of football, as at Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, to fill the gap between Moyes and Woodward.
Other experienced members of the inner circle of executives who masterminded the football side of the operation largely untouched by Woodward's hugely successful commercial arm in London, or the Glazers in the US, have also moved on. Maurice Watkins, the club's experienced lawyer, stepped down as a director a year ago.
Although United's transfer policy has often come under intense scrutiny during the Glazer years, from the odd bum note (Bébé) to a lack of money to spend, the deals that were concluded tended to be wrapped up speedily and efficiently. The change in approach has not gone unnoticed.
"It has looked a bit odd. I don't think it's gone as smoothly as we'd have liked. For a new start and a new manager it's not ideal. There seems to have been a change in policy in terms of how much information we disclose in advance of any deal," said Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the supporters' trust.
"It makes it look as though we have failed in the pursuit of a number of players. It was always going to be very tough. You'd think any new manager would need substantial backing to even maintain the status quo."
This summer, Woodward was the victim of a combination of bad luck and bad judgment. Despite his obvious negotiating skills, evidenced by the 31% leap in United's commercial revenues in the last year alone, he is new to the rarified air of the top end of the European transfer market, which is still controlled by a handful of executives and so-called "super agents".
Woodward's outsider status will not have helped. It is not unusual for even seasoned executives, subject to the cut and thrust of the transfer window for the first time, to be gripped by a kind of paralysis as they recoil from the almost obscene sums at play and the vicissitudes of players and agents.
It is also possible that his status as the Glazers' representative on earth caused him to blanch when it came to the crunch, unwilling to risk too much of the club's money.
And amid the Championship Manager meets high-stakes poker shenanigans of the final hours of the transfer window, it was easy to overlook the fact that Manchester United have not shopped at the expensive end of the international market for a long time.
Their recent big-money buys have tended to be promising youngsters from overseas or expensive domestic players. Arguably their last signing from overseas of any stature was Juan Sebastián Verón, not an unalloyed success, and even he came from Lazio rather than Madrid, Barcelona or Milan.
For Moyes, there will be more than mere irritation at the fact that a squad to which he was desperate to add at least two top-quality central midfielders and a left-back has been bolstered only by the last-ditch addition of Marouane Fellaini from his former club – and even then at an inflated price.
For the new manager the embarrassment is all the more acute because he would have had intimate knowledge of Fellaini's contract – and specifically the buyout clause that expired on 31 July and would have allowed United to buy the Belgian for £23.5m had they moved sooner. The impression that lingered was that Fellaini had never been the first-choice option and that Moyes himself was uncharacteristically indecisive.
At Everton, Moyes was meticulous about his transfer targets. As also detailed by Michael Calvin in his new book on football scouting The Nowhere Men, a "war room" at Everton's Finch Farm training complex was given over to a detailed distillation of targets from all over Europe.
In-depth scouting reports were compiled and potential recruits sifted carefully, before being transferred to a succession of whiteboards that lined the wall. Through financial necessity, targets were carefully selected. United's approach has looked scattergun by comparison.
The defiant message from inside Old Trafford , as they picked through the bones of a frenzied and frazzled conclusion to a transfer window that has dented the pride of the Premier League champions, was that their priorities had been achieved.
Namely, to retain the services of Wayne Rooney and sign a seasoned midfielder. But such a claim strikes a discordant note with the noises coming out of Old Trafford earlier in the summer, when it was made abundantly clear that the money was available for a "landmark" signing of up to £60m to kick off the Moyes era.
While not deserving of the level of hyperbolic dismay it has been greeted with in some quarters, emblematic of the general level of hoopla that surrounds each successive transfer window as the TV money pouring in to the top end of the game continues to escalate, the sense of humiliation will be bitterlyfelt – and not only among the club's hierarchy.
In more ways than one, Manchester United trade off their status as the self-appointed biggest club in the world. Madrid and Barcelona may bring in more revenue, partly thanks to the fact they keep the lion's share of La Liga's TV revenue, but United endlessly trumpet their 659 million global "followers" (even after it emerged that figure referred to anyone who had watched the club on television recently, fan or not) and have used their status to mint a rampantly successful international commercial model.
Fans were left scratching their heads, particularly as they looked longingly at Arsenal supporters crowing over the arrival of Mesut Ozil. And an ever-lengthening list of sponsors attracted by the history and romance of the club, as well as those numbers, also demand success and star names. With all due respect to the combative Belgian midfielder, Fellaini is unlikely to set hearts racing in the same way as a Cristiano Ronaldo or a Gareth Bale.
"Some supporters feel it hasn't represented the club very well. It's made us look a bit small-time. We should be competing with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich," said Drasdo. "It has made people concerned. But it's hard to know how much of it is things not working out in this window and how much of it is a bigger issue."