Ivan Perisic, the Croatia global, also featured prominently on Mourinho's wish list but it now seems that United's summer transfer business will be restricted to the arrivals of Fred, the injured Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant, signed from Stoke City as a third-choice goalkeeper.
Whatever the explanation, the lack of new faces compounds issues surrounding the United squad heading into the Premier League season.
"But it's not just new signings that is going to be the catalyst".
And ahead of his side's Premier League season opener against Leicester on Friday night, Mourinho addressed reporters' questions about whether United would be getting any late business done on deadline day.
"If we don't make our team better, it will be a hard season for us", Mourinho warned earlier this week, so far to no avail ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline.
"It is time for me to stop thinking about the market", he said. It's true of just about anything in life- when you're standing still, you're actually falling behind.
"If you can't add a player that can improve your squad, the most important thing is to make sure you do not lose your best players and I think that was a great job from the club to keep the best players and the manager".
England internationals Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier are among the players to have been given time off after the tournament, with no participation in pre-season games as a result. "You can not expect them to be fit".
Mourinho heads into the Leicester match with a hefty injury list, including key midfielders Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera, while a host of other stars of only recently returned from their break after World Cup duty.
"But he's got great experience, he's been at top clubs, he's been in hard positions before, he's in a hard position now I think, but he needs to try to find a way to get out of it". Sometimes players and their entourage, they make mistakes in the way they choose a club to be loaned.