Manchester United tried to hijack Liverpool's signing of Virgil van Dijk in January but they were too late to prevent the Dutch defender joining their rivals, according to a report.
Liverpool first tried to sign Van Dijk in the 2017 summer transfer window but were forced to back off as Southampton made complaints of an illegal approach.
The Reds eventually got their man six months later in January, but according to Dominic King of the Daily Mail, the Dutchman could have been a United player if the Red Devils had been more proactive in their approach.
"It is well known Manchester City were in for Van Dijk, while Chelsea and Arsenal both asked the question of Southampton," King wrote.
"Now it transpires United did actually throw their hat into the ring and made an enquiry for Van Dijk.
"They wanted to know the terms of his deal last December but, as is typical of that club now, the question was asked on the day Van Dijk was undergoing his medical at Anfield. By then it was far too late. United’s loss is most definitely Liverpool’s gain."
Van Dijk collected his second clean sheet in as many games with a towering display as Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-0 on Monday.
This came just one day after United's defensive frailties were cruelly exposed away at Brighton, where Jose Mourinho's team were run ragged in the first half of a 3-2 defeat.
United were linked with a whole host of centre backs during the summer but much to Mourinho's frustration they were unable to strengthen in that department.