Those at Old Trafford believed that they were well in contention at one stage, despite Madrid having moved to the front of the queue.
Bale appeared to open the door for discussions with United, with a more lucrative deal on the table, but a man who has been heavily linked with the Red Devils again in recent windows ended up leaving Moyes empty-handed.
The Scot, who was charged with the task of succeeding the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, told beIN Sports of a frustrating window for him which saw several stars slip the net: “Marouane Fellaini was to be part of a group of players to come in.
“By the time we got to the end of the transfer window, we always thought we had a chance of getting Gareth Bale.
“We hoped we could talk him out of going to Real Madrid because it was already half done.
“We had offered more money, we tried to entice him. We did [have a helicopter ready] and we tried.
“Cesc Fabregas was very close. I spoke to him and hoped to bring him from Barcelona.
“But this is management and we all have lots of hard-luck stories.”
Moyes has plenty, as it was not just Bale and Fabregas and that he missed out on.
A coach who would spend just eight months in charge of United before being unceremoniously dropped from a long-term contract also came close to landing a midfielder who would go on to become a World Cup winner.
Toni Kroos held talks with the Red Devils boss prior to Moyes’ departure but ended up following Bale to Madrid on the back of helping Germany to global glory in a Brazilian showpiece of 2014.
Moyes added: “I had met Toni Kroos during the season and agreed he would come to Manchester United before he went to Real Madrid, but somewhere in there I lost my job, and he went somewhere else.”