According to ESPN, the club made a deadline-day move to take wing-back Nico Schulz on loan from Borussia Dortmund, offering to pay a €1 million fee plus the player's salary for the season.
This out-of-the-blue bid caused people at Borussia "to question the credentials of United's recruitment and scouting team," according to ESPN's source. The Bundesliga club, who had no desire to get rid of the 27-year-old Germany international, turned United down.
It adds yet another unusual layer to Man United's summer business, which has involved a great deal of contact with the Dortmund-based club.
The never-ending chase for Jadon Sancho would seem, from the outside at least, to be a perfect example of Ed Woodward-ball. Wherein a club names their asking price (in this case £108 million), United don't want to meet it, yet still keep coming back to declare their interest.
Now comes this remarkably late loan bid for left-sided defender Schulz, which apparently left Borussia baffled. The player joined the club from Hoffenheim last summer and has struggled since, losing his regular starting spot to Raphael Guerreiro.
But Borussia had no intention of letting go of a player who still features for Germany (including in this week's 3-3 draw with Turkey) - particularly ahead of a long, gruelling season and with no time to secure any kind of replacement.
Sancho (rather than Schulz) to United was the endless story of the summer. Sources suggest United made a final bid for the England attacker in the last days of the window, but it was rejected by Borussia on two counts. Firstly it still fell below their valuation of the player, also it came far after their 10 August deadline (which would have given the German side time to plan and try to find a replacement).
United's summer transfer business has left many fans frustrated. While Donny van de Beek looks good value at an initial £35 million, and Edinson Cavani on a free could prove very useful, the lack of defensive reinforcements has concerned many, with only Alex Telles arriving late in the window.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly did not get any of his desired transfer targets this summer, which ranged from Sancho to Jack Grealish to a new centre-back.
Whether Solskjaer wanted Schulz in particular who knows? But as Borussia seem as confused by United's transfer strategy as many of their fans, the club have only one choice: double down on the madness by trying to loan Erling Haaland and the entire yellow wall in 2021, in exchange for Fred and a bag of footballs. What could possibly go wrong?
All imagery: PA Images
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read