Man United chief Ed Woodward was desperate to sign Raphael Varane and Marco Verratti in 2018, but Jose Mourinho felt the pair were unobtainable.
The executive-vice chairman has taken vast amounts of criticism for Man United’s transfer policy since he took over the reins in 2013.
The Red Devils have spent around £700m since Sir Alex Ferguson stood down six years ago and Woodward was at odds with Jose Mourinho during his final pre-season at the club.
The Portuguese tactician wanted Manchester United to fund a £75m move for Harry Maguire, but the club baulked at Leicester’s asking price, which annoyed Mourinho.
Instead, United joined midfielder Fred, veteran Lee Grant and unproven Diogo Dalot for around a combined £72.5m.
Manchester Evening News reports Woodward wanted to pursue transfers for Madrid defender Varane and Paris-Saint Germain star Verratti.
Varane has been a long-term Man United target and came close to joining for the club in 2012 before Zinedine Zidane negotiated on Madrid’s behalf.
Mourinho was a huge fan of the French defender during his time at the Bernabeu, but he felt that Manchester United didn’t stand a realistic opportunity of signing the defender and that they should focus their forces elsewhere.
Similarly, Marco Verratti was considered out of reach by Mourinho, and the club signed a quick-fire agreement for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred instead.
Of course, Portuguese boss was sacked just four months later as his anger at the club’s transfer policy carried over to plays on the pitch.
Ironically, United have since signed Maguire for a world-record fee, though midfield continues an issue.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to add more creativity to his line-up, but he’s doubtful of making the necessary additions in the winter transfer window.
‘We’re looking for some creativity and goals, but they [potential signings] have to be the right ones,’ said Solskjaer.
‘There were strikers available [in the summer] but not the ones we wanted. We couldn’t get the one we wanted.’