Manchester United spent the entire summer pursuing a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, but despite the German side making their asking price clear early on, no move materialised.
The Red Devils were hyper-focused on landing Sancho, sacrificing all other transfers (apart from Donny van de Beek's move from Ajax) as they wanted to focus all their efforts on striking a deal for the Dortmund winger.
According to The Athletic, it was manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who continuously urged Ed Woodward to keep trying to strike a deal, but United's strategy and bizarre logic meant that they never even came close to getting a deal done.
Even before the transfer window opened, United had made contact with Dortmund and were told that he would cost £108m. Instead of actually believing that, United assumed they would be able to find a compromise and made it clear to sources that they were confident they would be able to sign Sancho.
United banked on Dortmund accepting that selling to them for a discounted fee would be their best bet, but the German side never picked up the phone and were left bemused as to how United got the idea Sancho would cost less than £108m, given that had been the message all along.
Dortmund grew frustrated at United's determination to keep things going despite obviously refusing to pay their asking price. When Dortmund confirmed on August 10 that United had failed to meet their deadline and Sancho was not leaving, United put in a call to question whether the sentiment was true and were stunned to find out it was.
Some form of talks continued after that deadline, with intermediaries hired to work on an agreement. United believe Dortmund wanted such measures so they could stick to their public stance of 'no negotiations', but Dortmund have disputed this and pointed to the fact that they prefer face-to-face dealings for big transfers.
One offer which arrived through intermediaries sat at around the £80m mark, which was obviously rejected, and this bid even left Sancho himself feeling undervalued as United were seemingly doing all they could to avoid paying his asking price.
Even if United had come up with £108m late on, it's understood Sancho would have been confused as to why it didn't arrive earlier.
The winger was willing to move to Old Trafford, but not as desperate as United believed he was. The Red Devils claimed behind the scenes that Sancho was willing to 'walk to Old Trafford', but that was never the case.
Dortmund spent most of the summer frustrated and rarely picked up the phone to United, insisting their demands had long been clear, and that only became clear to United with two days left in the transfer window, when moves for Ousmane Dembele and Ismaïla Sarr were considered.