David Moyes feels his Manchester United reign could have gone differently had the club landed some of the top targets they had been close to signing.
Moyes, who barely lasted 10 months at Old Trafford after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson in 2014, has spoken about how the club have abandoned many of their great traditions.
“When I first went in my real target was Gareth Bale,” said Moyes, who takes his Sunderland side to Old Trafford on Boxing Day. “I felt all along that Gareth Bale was a Manchester United player.
“I fought right until the last minute. We actually offered a bigger deal than Real Madrid. But Gareth had his mind made up on going to Real Madrid. That was, in my mind, the player I really wanted to bring to Manchester United.
“The other one was Cesc Fabregas, who we thought we would get right up until the last minute.
“I remember when I first met Sir Alex and he always said there was a chance Ronaldo might come back.
“So that was the level we were targeting. I was not going out to bring in seven, eight players, because we had a squad which had just won the league.
“Toni Kroos was agreed to come in the summer. I had agreed it with Toni himself and his agent. Sometimes you don’t get deals done. Gareth Bale, we were probably behind all along, Real Madrid were well in for it.
“The Cesc one was disappointing. It was very close. And Toni Kroos came up in January – it was done.
“A lot of players come into Manchester United and have not necessarily made the difference. But I think that, given time and having got to this period, I would have hoped I would be working with a successful team now.”