GABRIEL MARTINELLI recently revealed Manchester United missed out on the chance to sign him.
The Brazilian wonderkid, 18, had FOUR trials at the Old Trafford side – but Red Devils chiefs turned him down time and time again.
And it appears to be a recurring trend too, as – over the years – Man Utd could have landed some of the biggest names in world football.
While United has always been a desirable new home for many a star, others have opted to turn them down – with some less-than-inspiring stars being brought in instead.
Check out our XI comprised of stars Man Utd have missed out on – and who they decided to replace them with, including some real flops…
Who they wanted: FRANCESCO TOLDO
Who they signed: MASSIMO TAIBI
AFTER Peter Schmeichel left the club, Sir Alex Ferguson was left scrambling for a new No1.
Toldo was said to be one of many top targets, but the Italian opted to stay at Fiorentina.
Instead, United bought error-prone, super-flop Taibi – before swiftly moving to replace him with Fabien Barthez less than a year later.
Who they wanted: SERGIO RAMOS
Who they signed: MATTEO DARMIAN
FOUR years ago, United were close to signing Ramos, after bidding £40million with the Spaniard’s future at the Bernabeu up in the air.
But in the 11th hour, Ramos penned a new five-year deal at Real Madrid – with United left searching for a new target.
The only defender to join the ranks that summer was Darmian – who never settled down at United and joined Parma this summer.
Who they wanted: DIEGO GODIN
Who they signed: AARON WAN-BISSAKA
MAN UTD were desperate to bolster their dreadful back-line this summer – and ultimately did fairly well.
United had hoped to sign the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Kalidou Koulibaly – but came closest with Atletico Madrid legend Godin.
But the Uruguayan opted to join Inter Milan, with United forced to look elsewhere.
On the upside, they did manage to sign the hugely talented Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace – albeit for £50m.
Who they wanted: MATTHIJS DE LIGT
Who they signed: HARRY MAGUIRE
ANOTHER summer target, United desperately pursued De Ligt – along with half of Europe, it seemed – only for Juventus to come up trumps.
Man Utd did manage to bring in an elite centre-back, but were forced to pay £85m – a world-record for a defender – to land Maguire.
Who they wanted: AARON RAMSEY
Who they signed: ZORAN TOSIC
A DECADE ago, United were on the brink of signing Ramsey – even agreeing a fee with Cardiff.
Man Utd even published a story on their website speaking of their confidence of the Welsh star joining.
But Ramsey swiftly went on to choose Arsenal – and United replaced him with flop Tosic from Partizan.
Who they wanted: FABINHO
Who they signed: HENRIKH MKHITARYAN
IN 2016, Fabinho was a huge part of the Monaco team who stunned Ligue 1 to clinch the title.
As a host of Monaco stars left the club for pastures new, the Brazilian was tipped with a move to Man Utd – with wife Rebeca Tavares even following Man Utd on Instagram.
He stayed, only to join fierce rivals Liverpool two years later – while United only managed to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a replacement.
United did sign Paul Pogba that summer, but Fabinho – instead Mkhitaryan – was meant to be a complementary player.
Who they wanted: TONI KROOS
Who they signed: MAROUANE FELLAINI
FIVE years on from a failed move, David Moyes revealed: “Toni Kroos had agreed to come to Manchester United with me.
“I met him and his wife and we agreed it all when he was at Bayern Munich.”
Moyes had just replaced Ferguson that summer – a massive task as it was – but he ended up failing to sign Kroos, along with Cesc Fabregas and Sami Khedira.
The Scot boss then decided to raid his old club Everton for Marouane Fellaini – a move that didn’t pan out quite as well as he’d planned.
Who they wanted: GARETH BALE
Who they signed: ANDERSON
A HOST of Premier League giants were circling for Bale as his stock continued to rise at Southampton.
Man Utd were close to signing the now-Real Madrid star, but he went on to join Tottenham.
Instead, United signed Anderson, along with Nani, in yet another less-than-inspiring deal.
Who they wanted: EDEN HAZARD
Who they signed: SHINJI KAGAWA
MAN UTD were desperate to bring Hazard to Old Trafford when it became clear he’d outgrown Lille.
Fergie piled praise on the Belgian in a bid to sweet-talk him into a move to Manchester.
But Hazard chose Chelsea, before revealing: “There was a struggle between Chelsea and United but, for me, Chelsea has the best project. It’s a wonderful club.”
United instead signed flop Kagawa, with Ferguson claiming: “We think we’ve got good value in Kagawa.”
That has not aged well…
MORE MAN UTD STORIES
Who they wanted: GABRIEL BATISTUTA
Who they signed: NO ONE
THE Argentine legend revealed he was keen to join Man Utd in January 2000 – before quickly cooling his interest.
Batistuta ultimately left Fiorentina, only to snub United and join Roma.
Fergie’s United ended up signing absolutely no-one in attack – bringing only Barthez to the club.
Who they wanted: ALAN SHEARER
Who they signed: OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER
UNITED missed out on Shearer not once but twice – to Blackburn and then the striker’s home-town club Newcastle, despite winning the double the season before.
Rather than splash out £15m on the England star, United spent just £1.5m on now-boss Solskjaer.
Man Utd were also able to bring in Teddy Sheringham the next summer.
This post written by Dave Fraser originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.