Manchester United rejected the chance to sign then-Coventry midfielder James Maddison for around £5m in 2016, according to journalist Ian McGarry.
Maddison began his career in Coventry’s Under-18s side before Norwich signed the Englishman in February 2016 for an undisclosed fee and loaned him back to the Sky Blues until the end of the 2016/17 season.
The 23-year-old made a name for himself at Norwich in the 2017/18 season – scoring 14 goals and assisting eight others in 44 Championship appearances – before Leicester came calling with a £20m offer.
Maddison has since kicked on further with impressive performances for the Foxes and has become one of Brendan Rodgers’ most important players, leading to continued links with a move away to Old Trafford.
Speaking on the Transfer Window podcast, transfer expert McGarry revealed all about how Maddison – who is now reportedly valued at around £80m – could have gone to United for much cheaper.
“For two minutes I’m going to go all Arsene Wenger here because when Maddison was in the process of leaving Coventry City because the club’s financial crisis meant they had to sell their best players, Maddison even then was considered one of the best players,” he explained.
“I contacted someone I knew at Manchester United in their recruitment department and said look you’re going to get a bargain here, this guy’s going to be a huge player in the future and he’s available for around £5m and he’s also a Manchester United fan.
“They didn’t take any notice. Manchester United could have had Maddison four years ago.
“In saying that there’s no guarantee he would have developed the way he did at Norwich and then Leicester.”
Recent reports have suggested that United were considering offering Leicester £45m plus Jesse Lingard for the midfielder, but Rodgers was quick to dismiss such speculation.
He said: “There’s no message, it’s a month and pre-January there’s lots of speculation around lots of our players which is great because they’re talents and it means they and the team and doing very well.
“But nobody will leave here in January, that’s for sure. We want to add to the squad if we can.”