Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded the transfer window has not gone according to plan, but the Premier League giants are still hopeful of adding to their squad.
Despite the signing of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek, there is growing frustration among United supporters as they struggle to sign new players before the transfer window closes next month.
United continue to be linked with Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho but both clubs remain apart on the €120million ($195M AUD) asking price amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While United try to bolster their team after finishing third to qualify for the Champions League last season, Premier League holders Liverpool, rivals Chelsea and neighbours Manchester City have been active in the market.
United had been linked to Real Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon but he is set for Jose Mourinho's Tottenham, while Thiago Alcantara joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich following talks among his agent and the Red Devils.
Explaining United's transfer efforts ahead of Saturday's opener at home to Crystal Palace, Solskjaer told reporters: "We're looking at a small pool of players who can add to the quality of our team and let's see what we can do. The club's working hard and I understand that they're working hard.
"When we sit down and we discuss, sometimes it doesn't happen as planned. Life isn't a straight line here, sometimes things happen and I've always said it - I'm very happy to work with these players.
"There's still a few weeks left of the transfer window, it might happen that we get someone in. I've worked with the club and they know what I feel the team and the squad needs and let's see if we can add to what we have."
Solskjaer added: "I want players in the building that we want to work with and who wants to be a part of it and who wants to be here.
"You need the quality on the pitch, you also need the personal qualities but you must also really want to be here and you need to show that you want to be here - that's really important for us as a group that we move forward.
It's not as big a pool as for other clubs because being part of Manchester United and being good enough for Manchester United is one thing, but then you've got another club who probably they want to keep that type of player who has that quality.
"Of course, you see other clubs and what they do, they put a challenge up for us and our response has to be results, that's the response. We can be best at the things that don't cost anything - the culture here, the training, the coaching, getting fitter."
"You can't ignore the impact of coronavirus," Solskjaer continued. "I think that's really changed the market and it happened more or less in that period when maybe negotiations would happen. Of course, the financial uncertainty of that has added on the difficulty of predicting where we're at.
"You want always to have as long as possible with players. I think last season though shows that good players can adapt and grow into a group very quickly. Harry (Maguire) came in very late in the transfer window and he had a great impact on the performances in the team."