Jose Mourinho has said Manchester United could have signed Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches had he arrived as manager sooner.
Mourinho, speaking to Sport TV, said he would have “fought for” the signing of the 18-year-old, who joined Bayern Munich from Benfica amid reports of United interest.
He said: “I arrived late. I signed in May. If I had arrived earlier, I’d have fought for him.
“Manchester United watched Renato many times, and maybe I did it even more. In so much time at home, I watched many Benfica and Portuguese league games.”
In May, it was reported that former United boss Louis van Gaal had vetoed the club’s efforts to bring in Sanches.
But last month, Portugal teammate Nani claimed Sanches had turned down an Old Trafford move in order to sign for Bundesliga champions Bayern.
Mourinho said Sanches would be joining a “big club” in Bayern with “players of a very high level” and that the midfielder was certain of winning the Bundesliga title at the Allianz Arena.
He added: “Maybe it’s a good choice for him. He has the opportunity to grow there.”