Recent ones, though, have caused some consternation among many in the fanbase who have felt that whoever has been in charge has not been offered the transfer market tools to fully unlock the team’s potential.
That was deemed to be the case in the latter period of Chris Wilder’s reign and Slavisa Jokanovic also emitted some frustration at not being able to bring in the players he felt were needed in the summer as he ended up working for the most part with the team that had been relegated from the Premier League a few months previous.
In the end Morgan Gibbs-White came on board and that proved to be an excellent acquisition, along with Robin Olsen though the feeling was that everything was taking too long.
The seemingly trudging recruitment was also pointed out by Paul Heckingbottom last week as he too became anxious about the length of time it was taking to get deals done. United headed towards deadline day without the central defender they needed, having lost out on James Hill to Bournemouth, John Souttar to Rangers and then Liverpool showed a reluctance to let Rhys Williams leave.
"There's been lots of reasons why we have not got one over the line,” said Heckingbottom. “Whether that's been players changing their minds, competition from other clubs, money, us being a little bit slow and letting someone else to nip in.”
There have been hurdles in their way but from the outside it often appears as if United can’t work on two things at once. They were forced into the market for a goalkeeper after Olsen decided he would rather sit on Aston Villa’s bench than concede sloppy goals for the Blades and in came Adam Davies from Stoke City – a solid, dependable stopper with experience at this level.
In doing so, that seemed to slow down the process of getting a central defender into the building.
They got there in the end, to much relief, as Charlie Goode was unveiled on deadline day having made the move on loan from Brentford. It’s not a sexy signing. It’s not one that will set hearts racing but Goode is what United now seem to be looking for – available, reliable and fairly cheap. And he does come with a glowing recommendation from well-respected former Blade Keith Curle who managed the 26-year-old at Northampton Town.
The new faces
Davies has worked under Heckingbottom before and the two know each other well. He’ll have to bide his time though becuse the current number one Wes Foderingham has surprised many with his impressive displays since coming in for the injured Olsen. There’s probably not an awful lot between the pair but Fodderingham has the jersey and deserves to keep it.
Goode comes to Bramall Lane in the mould of the type of player Wilder used to covet – still young, hungry and with a point to prove. Injury and illness appear to have stunted the defender’s progress a little and he’s never really been able to make his mark at Brentford on a consistent basis. Coming to United gives him a fresh start and the Blades can benefit from that desire to kickstart his career.
He, too, might have to wait though. Essentially brought in as an extra man, the three of John Egan, Chris Basham and Jack Robinson – who is prone to an error – have peformed well in the last couple of games and Ben Davies should be back soon, too. Goode could be on the bench for a while before he gets his opportunity.
Also coming in but not new by any stretch is Daniel Jebbison. United were willing to allow the highly-rated forward to stay at Burton and continue to work closely with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. However, a hamstring injury to Rhian Brewster at the weekend forced Heckingbottom’s hand and Jebbison is back. It’s arguable that United would have got by and the forward would have benefited from staying at the Brewers but given the departures from the attacking department and ongoing fears over Covid, the Blades boss has probably made the right call – it’s just hard to see when the teenager will get a chance.
Out the door
It’s probably here that United have done their best business. The squad was bloated, particularly up top and there were too many players on reasonably big wages not spending any time on the pitch.
Michael Verrips will hardly be missed as he’s hardly been seen, likewise Adlène Guedioura whose release was agreed late on Monday night. As for Robin Olsen, United are better off without him.
Lys Mousset’s departure to Serie A outfit Salernitana is the best for all concerned as frankly he can’t be relied upon to stay fit for a full game, let alone a lengthy period. His time at United will be remembered as one of promise, disappointment and at times a literal car crash.
Oliver Burke, who went to Millwall on loan, has been a flop at Bramall Lane but it was difficult to see where he ever fitted into the system anyway. Blessed with incredible pace, if the Scot could finish, he wouldn’t have been at United in the first place.
Regan Slater can perhaps count himself unfortunate but maybe views are skewed by the fact that everyone likes to see a local lad do well. Signing for Hull City is certainly best for him and you wouldn’t be surprised if letting him go for a nominal fee came back to haunt United.
Good window or bad?
Overall you have to say it’s been a successful one and the lack of virtual gnashing of teeth from supporters when the clock struck 11pm suggests that fans are reasonably happy with what they’ve got. This squad should already be capable of taking the Blades much further up the table than they are currently and that extra body at the back was essential. So too was the squad trimming for financial and practical reasons.
However, with so many players out of contract in the summer, the really big job comes in the next window.