David Moyes has revealed he wanted to sign Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos after taking over at Manchester United in 2013.
Moyes was appointed as United manager following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, but lasted just 10 months in the job before being sacked with the Red Devils eventually slumping to a seventh place finish.
Moyes: No United regrets
David Moyes thinks Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp would have struggled to replace Sir Alex Ferguson
The Scot made just one major summer signing with Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini arriving from his former club Everton for £27.5m.
Moyes was subsequently criticised by the club's supporters for failing to attract top-level stars to Old Trafford, but the 53-year-old has insisted he was doing all he could to sign some of the world's very best players, including now-Real Madrid trio Kroos, Bale and Ronaldo.
Kroos joined Madrid from Bayern despite having agreed terms on a switch to United, while Bale completed a then-world record £85m move to the Santiago Bernabeu to team up with former Red Devil Ronaldo.
"Toni Kroos was agreed to come in the summer," said Moyes, who takes his Sunderland side to United on Boxing Day. "I had agreed it with Toni himself and his agent.
"When I first went in my real target was Bale.
"I felt all along that Bale was a Manchester United player. I fought right until the last minute. We actually offered a bigger deal than Real Madrid.
"But Gareth had his mind made up on going to Real Madrid. That was, in my mind, the player I really wanted to bring to Manchester United."
As for Ronaldo, Moyes added: "I remember when I first met Sir Alex and he always said there was a chance Ronaldo might come back.
"So that was the level we were targeting."