Yet a fair portion of the talent needed for United to rebuild their squad is already at the club. In Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck, United have three talents that are not being put to their fullest use. Finding the right roles for them would, to use the phrase most beloved of Glazernomicists, be very much like new signings.
The continued goalscoring exploits of Javier Hernandez for Mexico stand out as one player that can add something to United's starting line-up and make their alleged pursuit of Robert Lewandowski highly questionable. One of the flaws was often stated to be his severely limited game - he was a goalscorer, and little else. This idea has been much in vogue lately, with the idea of the 'death of the poacher' gaining ground. In the argument's most ridiculous guise, Ruud van Nistelrooy, United's outstanding performer for the entire time he was at the club, was blamed for their failure to only secure one title in that period. Hernandez, it seems, is getting the same treatment.
This overlooks the fact that Hernandez's all-round game has developed hugely in the past couple of seasons. The hard work and energy has always been there, but an improved touch and vision, and excelling at holding the ball up have meant that the old criticisms are no longer legitimate. Hernandez is not a great goalscorer anymore - he is, of course, but the moniker doesn't do him justice. He is, simply, an excellent and all-round forward who just happens to score shedloads of goals.
His play has now developed to the point where it would be silly for United to continue using him as a mere impact substitute. In terms of goals per minute, no other striker in the Premier League is more lethal. Another overlooked feature of Hernandez is his remarkable consistency - Robin van Persie only had one black mark on his first year in a United shirt, but it was a major one - the fact that his goals completely dried up during the period when he was most needed, most exemplified by a pair of glaring misses that robbed United of a victory over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Hernandez simply does not go through such lengthy droughts.
A combination of a surplus of forwards and a decline in form of wingers means that United have increasingly been moving towards a fluid frontline more reminiscent of the side that won the 2008 Champions League, and Hernandez is no longer ruled out by such a system. His hard-work, tactical discipline, ability with the ball at his feet and team play means he could easily thrive in such a system.
Shinji Kagawa is an altogether different beast, and although there is a feeling among United fans that his ability has been wasted in his first season at United, this is only a half-truth. Much was made of Jurgen Klopp's comments that it broke his heart to see Kagawa on the left - "really, I have tears in my eyes", but this was always a silly overreaction. Kagawa isn't Juan Riquelme - he's a versatile player who should be able to adapt to a fluid system where the entire team isn't built around him. He's two-footed and not short of pace, and shouldn't have completely anonymous games as often as he did when playing out wide.
Not all of his underwhelming first season can be laid at his own door, of course, and there seems to be a misconception about what sort of player he is. Proportionally, he offers more of a goal threat than playmaking when compared to the likes of his counterparts at United's Premier League rivals, David Silva and Juan Mata. He is not one to play defence-splitting passes at the slightest opportunity, but rather to control and manipulate the ball in tight spaces and create moves with other players. Here, United's lack of a midfield lets him down, since the team is unable to move the ball quickly or efficiently enough to get the best out of him.
Since a midfield upgrade is almost certainly due at United this summer, that should aid Kagawa enormously if he can step up. His recent comments about requiring himself to be more 'assertive' are a good sign here, since he was anonymous far too often throughout the season.
Danny Welbeck may prove the hardest of the trio to accomodate, particularly after his appalling goalscoring form last season. His goal at the Bernabeu was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the year, and while his overall performances were of a high standard, he still has developing to do to make it at United, but too often found himself played out of position on the wing.
Welbeck is another player who suffers from misconceptions - the idea of him as primarily a willing runner, a physical, powerful forward with energy. He has that, but his real strength is his technique and imagination. An increased emphasis on specialisation with players leads to the same thing being played out in the media, as players are increasingly pigeonholed into certain roles - Welbeck is difficult to quantify, and rather than just enjoying him and letting him play, there seems to be a worrying obsession over exactly what sort of player he is.
We've seen enough spectacular goals and moments of skill from Welbeck to know that he's worth persevering with, and a move to a more fluid style of play from United should benefit him. That way, it's of less concern that he's sidelined on the wing if he has a greater freedom to come inside and do more damage. Again, a more durable and creative midfield will work wonders for aiding the transition.
If United are going to really make the most of David Moyes' first window, they need to ensure that a rebuilding of their squad doesn't leave them with the same problems as before. It's bizarre to see them linked with the likes of Robert Lewandowski while Javier Hernandez languishes on the bench, or Ezequiel Garay when Chris Smalling and Phil Jones end up playing everywhere but centre-back. As ever, a solid midfield will work wonders not just for United's great structural weakness, but also improving the rest of the team.