Jose Mourinho wanted to sign exciting midfielder Renato Sanches for Manchester United, but says he arrived at Old Trafford too late to do a deal.
Teenager Sanches was one of the most sought after teenagers in European football before sealing a big-money move to Bayern Munich from Benfica in May.
The 18-year-old then played a starring role as Portugal went on to win Euro 2016, and Mourinho believes he could have put up a fight to sign his compatriot had he been in the United hotseat sooner.
“I arrived [at Manchester United] late. I signed in May, we started talking a week before, but completely out of the process. If I had arrived earlier, I’d have fought for him,” he told Sport TV.
“Manchester United watched Renato many times and maybe I did it even more. In so much time at home, I watched many Benfica and Portuguese league games, I got to know the boy better with time.
“He’s in a big club, in a league where he’ll certainly be the champion. The club have players of very high level which belong to the structure, a little like Benfica.”
Mourinho has signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly to reshape his United squad since replacing Louis van Gaal, while Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is being heavily tipped to join in a world-record deal.