It certainly was not pretty and without its fair share of dissenters, but Manchester United's 2016-17 campaign eventually proved a success after Jose Mourinho's controversial decision to essentially forego any hopes of a top-four finish paid off to the tune of a Europa League final win over Ajax.
In addition to securing the only major trophy previously missing from the Old Trafford cabinet, that straightforward triumph in Stockholm also sealed qualification for the group stages of the Champions League. Three trophies and a seat back at the top table of European football must ultimately go down as a productive first term under Mourinho, despite a less-than-stellar playing style and chronic lack of clinical edge on home soil.
A club of United's undisputed stature must always be seen to be challenging for titles, however, and new arrivals will be key to both balancing domestic and European ambitions and bolstering a squad that struggled badly with injuries last term as the fixtures piled up in relentless fashion.
Eager to make full use of a kitty possibly in excess of £200m ($254.5m), their summer recruitment drive is already well underway.
Business so far
With Mourinho having made it repeatedly clear that Ed Woodward is solely responsible for securing new signings, United's oft-maligned executive vice-chairman, following the lead of rivals Manchester City, has been quick to get to work.
After months of persistent speculation, the club announced over the weekend that they had finally agreed terms with Benfica for the transfer of defender Victor Lindelof. At the time of writing that particular deal, believed to be worth £31m, remains dependent on personal terms, international clearance and a medical.
It could be a case of one Swede in and one Swede out, with out-of-contract striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic featuring on United's "released" list as he recovers from surgery on a serious knee injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for the next nine months. However, reports now suggest that he will continue his rehabilitation at Carrington and could earn himself another short-term deal.
Influential veteran Michael Carrick has also agreed a new 12-month contract to extend his 11-year stay in Manchester.
What they need
A new striker is paramount given the loss of Ibrahimovic, although some would argue that United looked a better side when they were not quite so reliant on a traditional number nine. Two might even be required with Wayne Rooney expected to leave over the coming months and the Red Devils, who boasted the second meanest defence in the top-flight last term, notching only 54 goals and repeatedly failing to kill teams off.
Centre-back was clearly a priority position and Mourinho also appears to be targeting the addition of an accomplished holding midfielder and possibly another left-back.
Who could join
The acquisition of Lindelof is expected to be quickly followed by a £70.5m deal for wantaway Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata. Everton's Romelu Lukaku and Andrea Belotti of Torino have also been heavily mooted as potential new forward options.
A well-publicised pursuit of Antoine Griezmann is over for now following the French talisman's decision to sign a new deal at Atletico Madrid, while Eric Dier, Nemanja Matic and Tiemoue Bakayoko have been touted for that aforementioned midfield role. Lindelof's signing presumably ends any interest in securing a return for Burnley's Michael Keane.
As ever with United, it would be quicker to list the players that have not been linked. Among the multitude of other supposed "targets", Ivan Perisic, Fabinho and Ryan Sessegnon stand out as genuine options.
Who could leave
Everton and Stoke City are suitors for Rooney, who could opt for China or the relative tranquility of Major League Soccer (MLS). The thoroughly tedious David de Gea transfer saga has predictably reared its head once again, although it seems that Real president Florentino Perez is willing to throw his support behind current number one Keylor Navas for now.
It would not come as a major surprise to see any of Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Phil Jones or Matteo Darmian head through the exit door. Adnan Januzaj and particularly Guillermo Varela hardly covered themselves in glory during respective loan stints with Sunderland and Eintracht Frankfurt, meanwhile.
It's also hard to see the likes of James Wilson and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson being retained for much longer.
What the manager has said
"Ed Woodward has my analysis, has what I want, what I would like for more than two months," Mourinho insisted last month. "Now it's for him, now for the owners and the people who work with him [to sort], so I just wait. But I don't care about football for now."