The January transfer window is usually well left alone for elite clubs with a clear direction, spending strategy and faith in their manager.
Unfortunately, Manchester United currently have none of those things, so the mid-season window may well represent a pivotal juncture for both Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward.
Yet, the signs are that both men are making petty gestures that already suggest – exactly two months before it opens – that the January window could well be another shambles at Old Trafford…
What’s going on?
Manchester United have laid plans to appoint a technical director to oversee an overhaul of the recruitment policy that has seen the club procure a series of expensive but often underperforming stars since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
However, ESPN report that Mourinho wants those plans to be delayed until he leaves the club because he does not want any weakening of or challenges to his power.
Meanwhile, the Sun report that Woodward has cancelled a transfer summit which was scheduled to discuss winter targets and that possible behind-the-scenes reshuffle.
What’s the impact going to be?
Mourinho is trying to throw his weight around, which is unlikely to curry much favour after a season where many would argue he is lucky to still be in the job.
He wants more transfer control and more money to strengthen a squad he has already thrown a fortune at and only marginally improved.
It is perhaps understandable that Woodward has run out of patience. His decision not to sanction a big-money move was widely criticised, but it was the right call.
Mourinho has already spent a huge amount on Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof; at some point, Woodward is entitled to ask his manager to work to improve the players he already has.
But cancelling a transfer summit it also petty. If Woodward is to stick with Mourinho, he has to back him and work alongside him. Even if the money pot will no longer be quite as limitless, a strong working relationship is essential.
It’s not crisis point yet, but the early signs suggest that January is going to be yet another botched window from United – if Mourinho is still in a job by then…