Ed Woodward reportedly wanted to bring Marco Verratti and Raphael Varane to Manchester United but was blocked by former manager Jose Mourinho.
The central defender and midfielder were seen as his dream signings before he moved away from the club’s recruitment strategy, according to the Manchester Evening News.
But Mourinho viewed neither option as ‘remotely attainable’ as United pursued ‘elite options’ in the 2018 transfer window.
Ed Woodward’s two dream transfer targets during the 2018 window have been revealed
Instead United completed a £52m deal for Fred, who has proved a lacklustre signing, and waited 12 months to seal a record deal for Leicester defender Harry Maguire.
Verratti, 26,is a client of Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola, and signed a new five-year deal with PSG last week.
Varane, also 26, is tied to Real Madrid until 2022.
Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, no longer identifies potential recruits, instead he just signs off on them.
Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane was one of the players shortlisted by Woodward
Woodward was also interested in PSG’s 26-year-old central midfielder Marco Verratti
United are believed to now have a recruitment department that recommends players, while head of corporate development Matt Judge negotiates with agents and clubs.
While United were unable to make a move for Varane that summer, they targeted numerous other central defenders including Maguire, Kalidou Koulibaly and Diego Godin.
Mourinho was also interested in Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.
Then manager Jose Mourinho felt that both players were ‘unattainable’ in that window