Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward is known for his hard nosed approach when it comes to dealing with transfers.
And while the Old Trafford bigwig has secured some huge signings for the club, he’s also missed out on a load of top quality players.
That has most recently been seen with negotiations for Real Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon, who is now expected to join Tottenham despite being in talks with United.
It was also the case for Erling Haaland in the January transfer window – the Norwegian striker moving to Borussia Dortmund instead.
But which other world class talents have United missed out on signing due to Woodward’s refusal to be bullied in the boardroom?
Spanish left-back Reguilon is now expected to join Tottenham this summer, despite being in discussions with United over a £20m switch.
It’s thought the club’s refusal to insert a buy-back clause in the deal has given Real Madrid no option but to go with Spurs instead.
Reguilon may not have been an immediate starter for United, but losing him to a Premier League rival will be a bitter pill to swallow.
Many thought United were going to pull off a coup for Haaland in January – and it was quite a shock when Borussia Dortmund landed the Norwegian striker.
It’s thought that talks collapsed when the teenager’s representatives asked for a buyout clause to be inserted in his deal.
Haaland was already having a great season at RB Salzburg, and he’s gone from strength to strength in the Bundesliga, showing just how capable of a player he is.
Reports claimed that Barcelona forward Griezmann agreed personal terms and a shirt number with United in 2017 while he was at Atletico Madrid in what would have been a world record £87m swoop.
However, with Atletico banned from signing players this one never came to fruition, and the Frenchman signed a new contract and said he did not think it would be right to leave under the circumstances.
Of course, Griezmann left two years later in far more controversial circumstances as Barcelona activated a lower release clause.
Things could have been very different for the Belgian forward back in 2012 when he opted to join Chelsea over a number of other Premier League sides.
He told the Guardian in 2019: “I had a chance to sign for Manchester United, Man City, Tottenham, but I made the right decision.
Hazard would have been a steal at £32m, but United refused to pay Hazard’s agent £6m to get the deal done.
Virgil van Dijk
In 2017, then-manager Jose Mourinho drew up a shortlist of three centre-backs he wanted to sign: Michael Keane, Victor Lindelof and Virgil van Dijk.
Of course, United went with Lindelof for £31m from Benfica, while Liverpool paid Southampton £75m for Van Dijk six months later.
Lindelof seemed like a marked improvement at the time, but he’s now seen as just below the cut, while Van Dijk is seen as the best defender in the world, as well as a Premier League and Champions League winner.
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