Donny van de Beek will likely be on the bench yet again for the Red Devils after the Toffees missed out on a late summer swoop for him.
According to van de Beek's agent, Guido Albers, Everton had agreed terms for the former Ajax midfielder to move to Goodison Park late in the transfer window.
However, speaking to Dutch media outlet Ziggo Sport, Albers claimed that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pulled the plug on the eve of transfer deadline day.
What's been said?
Benitez confirmed that Everton were interested in van de Beek but was always braced to miss out.
The Toffees boss said: “Van de Beek was at the end of the window. It was not easy for us.
“It was a name in the last couple of days when all of the agents throw a lot of names out.
“He was one of these names and he’s a good player for sure but I don’t think we had too many chances.”
How has van de Beek fared this season?
The Holland international has remained on the periphery of things at Old Trafford.
Van de Beek has played in just three of United's nine matches so far this season, with the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba all ahead in the pecking order.
Both of his starts - against West Ham in the Carabao Cup and Young Boys in the Champions League - ended in defeat, while he's made just a five-minute cameo off the bench against Newcastle in the Premier League.
Van de Beek couldn't hide his frustrations when he was left on the bench for Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Villarreal. Solskjaer instead introduced Jesse Lingard and Fred, with van de Beek having to be consoled by Eric Bailly and Dean Henderson sitting alongside him.
Could Everton reignite their interest?
Following the sale of James Rodriguez to Qatari outfit Al-Rayyan, Benitez confirmed that he'll be given the funds to reinvest in January.
It's likely that Everton will first look to prioritise a right-back to compete and provide cover for Seamus Coleman after missing out on the likes of Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nathan Patterson of Rangers.
A left-back to be back-up to Lucas Digne could also be desired.
Benitez could then shift his attention to the middle of the park.
Where would van de Beek fit in at Everton?
Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan have magnificently started the season in central midfield.
However, the Blues are lacking an out-and-out creator in the engine room
During his final season at Ajax before joining United, van de Beek was a key attacking threat, recording 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 appearances.
Everton have mainly played with a two-man midfield, but van de Beek would allow the flexibility to switch to a 4-4-3 system.
For him to arrive, though, it’s likely Everton would have to offload either Tom Davies, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Andre Gomes or Fabian Delph.
The quartet have made a collective total of just 11 appearances all season, with Gomes and Delph currently out injured.
Would van de Beek want to leave United?
The Daily Mail reports van de Beek will again try to exit Old Trafford in January.
He’s again been left out of Holland’s squad for the international break and will not be going to the 2022 World Cup if he doesn’t start playing regularly again.