Sergio Romero - not Jadon Sancho - is emblematic of Man United's disastrous transfer window
Sancho will get the headlines, but Sergio Romero is the true symbol of United's failings
Amidst the chaos, it was easily missed. As Manchester United raced against the clock to conclude deals for four new players on transfer deadline day, Eliana Guercio, the wife of Sergio Romero, had seen enough. Taking matters into her own hands, Guercio shared a post to her Instagram account, demanding the club show her husband the respect he deserved by allowing him to leave.
Ultimately, her attempts proved unsuccessful. Romero remains a Manchester United player.
As the dust settles on what, even by their own pathetically low recent standards, has been a disastrous transfer window for United, it's understandable that the plight of Romero will be largely overlooked. Why, when a blend of incompetence and supreme arrogance scuppered any hopes of Jadon Sancho's arrival, should a stand-in goalkeeper not being granted a move away be the main story?
And yet, as more details of their botched attempts to prise Sancho from Borussia Dortmund seep out, the case of Romero says just as much - if not more - about the shambolic nature in which aspects of the club are managed.
Romero was brought to United by Louis van Gaal in 2015. David De Gea had appeared certain to join Real Madrid at the time, only for his move to fall through at the eleventh hour. If he was signed as a potential replacement for De Gea, Romero hasn't exactly kicked up a fuss at having to play understudy to the Spaniard for the past five years.
Instead, he has deputised admirably. Regularly asked to stand in for De Gea in cup fixtures, he was in goal as United claimed their last trophy in the 2017 Europa League final. His steady performances, coupled with a few costly blunders by De Gea, have often prompted debate as to whether he is "too good" to be spending the majority of games watching on from the bench.
At the turn of the year it seemed Romero's days as a United player were numbered. With De Gea only months into a new long-term contract, Dean Henderson's impressive loan form at Sheffield United meant a return to his parent club was becoming increasingly likely. Three men vying for the same position was simply one too many and Romero, surely, would be the one to make way.
Sure enough, Henderson has returned and, after signing a new long-term contract of his own, is already filling Romero's gloves in United's early-season Carabao Cup fixtures. De Gea continues as first choice in the Premier League.
But despite plenty of interest, United have been unable to find a suitor for Romero. Inexplicably, the club that was reluctant to meet the 'unreasonable' asking price for a potentially world class addition to their first team now finds itself paying close to £2.5m a month in wages to three goalkeepers.
This, as much as any of their many failings at trying to bring players to Old Trafford, neatly sums up how staggeringly poorly run the club is.
It is demonstrative of the same lack of foresight which sees them hand out new contracts to perennially injured defenders, or their failure to understand that when a selling club stipulates a fee for a player must be paid by a certain date, they mean it.
Romero's hopes of leaving United are not completely dead, of course. Though a move elsewhere in the Premier League or abroad is no longer possible until January, he is permitted to join clubs in the Championship or below for a few more days. For a goalkeeper who might still harbour ambitions of playing for his country in another World Cup, such a step down poses obvious problems. His wages, too, are likely to be beyond the budgets of most clubs in England's second tier.
And so for now, he is left in a state of limbo. While Sancho might generate more headlines, it is the Argentine back-up goalkeeper who is the true symbol of a club in stagnation, where a small band of seemingly immune finance men continue to play at a game none of them appear to fully understand.