Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to add Christian Eriksen to his Manchester United squad during the winter transfer window, claims Denmark boss Age Hareide.
A switch to Old Trafford for the Danish playmaker had been mooted heading into January.
Eriksen had entered the final year of his contract at United’s Premier League rivals Tottenham.
With no extension in place, it quickly became apparent that Spurs would be forced to sanction a sale mid-season as a prized asset headed towards free agency.
A deal was eventually done with Serie A giants Inter.
That agreement left those at Old Trafford disappointed, with added creativity considered to still be a top priority for United when it comes to future recruitment.
Hareide told Viasport of a talismanic presence in his plans: “There were clubs in England that were interested in him.
“Manchester United were interested in Christian Eriksen. I know that Ole Gunnar was.”
The Red Devils were not the only ones to cast admiring glances in the direction of a talented 28-year-old.
Real Madrid had been long-standing suitors of a proven creative influence.
Any advances from Spain were also shunned as Eriksen opted to take on a new challenge with Serie A title hopefuls.
Hareide added: “There was talk of Real Madrid and in part Barcelona, but mostly Real Madrid.
“But along the way, Inter and [Antonio] Conte showed their interest. And they showed real interest in Christian, and that was the most important thing.”
Eriksen believes he has made the right choice, with the former Spurs star admitting to having passed up the chance to stay in England with United as he wanted a fresh start.
He told reporters of the interest from Old Trafford: “For a few years but it was never really likely.
“We did speak to them, of course, and we did hear what was possible and what wasn’t possible.
“But, in the end, me personally, I wanted a new challenge. To stay in the Premier League would have been an easy solution.
“Of course, staying at Tottenham would also have been a solution but, for me, it just came down to wanting to try a new challenge in a new country. Once Inter came up it really wasn’t a difficult choice.”