The club hierarchy at Manchester United were reportedly prepared to back manager Jose Mourinho and break the transfer record for a defender but were hesitant as none of the world-class centre-backs were available in the summer.
The Red Devils were willing to shell out £100 million for a central defender but top targets like Raphael Varane were unavailable.
According to ESPN, United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had met Real Madrid president Florentino Perez in Miami last month but could not come to an agreement over the sale of the French defender.
Mourinho was desperate to add to his defensive options with Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld, Yerry Mina, Jerome Boateng and Diego Godin all being linked with the club.
However, no deal could materialise as the fees quoted by Leicester City for Maguire and Tottenham Hotspur for Alderweireld were excessive, with the Old Trafford board deeming it of not proper value.
When it came to Boateng, they were concerned about his injury record and did offer Bayern Munich the option of taking him on loan, which was refused by the German giants. The price asked by Barcelona for Mina has been described as "ridiculous," with the 23-year-old eventually joining Everton for a fee of £28 million.
The Portuguese tactician currently has five centre-backs on his roster, namely Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo.
With United scheduled to kick-off their Premier League campaign against Leicester later tonight, it will be interesting to see who starts the match.