David Moyes has revealed he came close to landing Cesc Fabregas during his time at Manchester United, while he also had conversations with Gareth Bale over a move to Old Trafford.
The pair were targeted by Moyes as he attempted to stamp his authority on the United team he had inherited from Sir Alex Ferguson, with United attempting to foil Real's protracted attempts to acquire the Welshman, and also secure the signature of Fabregas.
Moyes has now revealed that he spoke with both players, with Fabregas pledging to join if he was left out of the Barcelona starting XI on the first day of the season. Unfortunately for the Scot, the Spain international started, though he eventually moved to Chelsea just a year later.
"I spoke to Gareth Bale a couple of times. He had his heart set on going to Real Madrid, we tried to change it," he told BBC Radio Five Live. "We tried to convince him but we couldn't do so. We offered more money to Tottenham at that time.
"Cesc Fabregas, who I spoke to on the phone several times, was not sure of his place in the Barcelona team. I remember him saying to me 'if I don't start the first game at Barcelona then I'll definitely be looking to join you' and he started the first game at Barcelona.
"So it's small things, you're waiting on happening. But I don't want it to sound like hard luck stories because there were other players, but those were the two who looked to me like Manchester United players."