Of course, some did opt for Liverpool - Glenn Hysen and Harry Kewell spring to mind - and Sir Alex was forced to look elsewhere. But that is the very nature of the transfer market. As the Reds' former boss has often pointed out, if one deal does not come off, it just triggers a separate pursuit that can have wide-reaching consequences.
Had Sheffield Wednesday not rejected United's official bid for David Hirst, Eric Cantona would almost certainly never have ended up as the club's catalyst for ending the barren run in the league. The failure to conclude a deal for Hysen and Martin Keown led Sir Alex to a record-breaking move for Middlesbrough's Gary Pallister, who became a steal, even at £2.3million.
The examples are virtually endless - had Tottenham's Darren Anderton been snared, would David Beckham have been allowed to break into the side and flourish when he did? Would Patrick Kluivert have contributed as much as Dwight Yorke did to the Treble season? Those devastated to see Ronaldinho head for Barcelona when the PSG star seemed all set for Manchester could at least console themselves with the arrival of a raw prospect in Ronaldo instead.
"It was a big disappointment at the time," recalled Sir Alex. "But we signed Cristiano Ronaldo that very same summer and perhaps we wouldn't have ended up with Ronaldo had we got Ronaldinho."
Would Blackburn Rovers have supplied more of a sustained challenge for honours if Roy Keane had become their talisman instead of United's inspirational captain? How successful would the Reds had been if Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer had opted for Old Trafford? All questions that can never be answered.
It's simply all part of the transfer game. Moyes is confident of bringing in fresh blood ahead of Monday's deadline and the hope will be that any new signing can write his name into the club's rich history. However, supporters who are well versed in the twists and turns of the market will appreciate