Man Utd nearly signed two different Real Madrid players before Casemiro transfer pursuit

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Manchester United are in for Casemiro. The Real Madrid star is poised to move to Old Trafford in a huge £60million deal, becoming their fourth signing of the summer transfer window after Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez. However, in a parallel universe, the Red Devils would have Luka Modric and Toni Kroos at their disposal already.

Manchester United have moved to sign Casemiro after missing out on Frenkie de Jong and Adrien Rabiot, of Barcelona and Juventus respectively.

Over in Spain, he’ll be leaving Kroos and Modric behind. For years, now, the trio have formed one of the best midfield tridents the footballing world has ever seen.

The trio have, together, won four Champions League titles. Casemiro and Kroos have five to their name, having been part of the side that claimed the trophy at Atletico Madrid’s expense back in 2014.

At a time where Casemiro is heading to Manchester, however, it’s worth pointing out that the Red Devils actually could have ended up with both of his midfield partners in the past.

Back in 2011, Sir Alex Ferguson set his sights on signing Modric.

The midfielder had impressed for Tottenham at the time and was seen as a player with the potential to get even better in the years ahead.

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Ferguson went public when it came to Modric, starting a charm offensive by comparing him to Paul Scholes. He said: “Scholes and Modric are both intelligent footballers.

“They both influence their teams as well so it is a reasonable comparison. I don’t think they are identical players but they have the same qualities in terms of controlling a game.

“Their passing consistency is good and the one thing people underestimate about Modric is that he has terrific stamina.”

But, in the end, United didn’t make a serious play for Modric despite their strong interest.

They wanted to, of course. Ferguson wanted the Croatia international to come, believing he was Scholes’ heir.

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But the prospect of dealing with Tottenham supremo Daniel Levy once again, just three years after raiding Spurs for Dimitar Berbatov, ultimately saw United miss out.

Fast-forward to 2014, and Kroos was on the club’s radar.

The Germany international had made it clear he’d be leaving Bayern Munich behind for a new challenge, despite Pep Guardiola wanting to keep him at the Allianz Arena.

And United set their sights on a deal, with David Moyes working hard to ensure Kroos would move to Old Trafford.

Moyes, in 2020, said: “Toni Kroos would certainly be the one.

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“At that time we were very much after Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas.

“But I’ve got to say prior to that, at Everton, we were really close to a lot of good players. We just couldn’t quite get them over the line on several occasions.”

And Kroos admitted in May this year he came close to joining United. Speaking ahead of a Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Manchester City, he said: “I knew beforehand that United wanted me.

“Moyes absolutely underlined that. It was a really nice afternoon with very pleasant people. We talked a lot about United’s football plan, which convinced me.

‘But we also got to know each other as people. We knew quite a bit about the Moyes family afterwards.

“We talked about how we lived and how we all imagined life as a family. In the end we broke up to do it. So we agreed verbally. The next step should be to look at everything on the spot in Manchester.

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“The move would not have been that complicated – after all, we only had one child at the time, seven months old. It would all have worked.”

In the end, however, Moyes was sacked.

And Kroos ended up moving to Real Madrid instead, where he’s since gone on to become a club legend at the Bernabeu.

Casemiro is a huge signing for United.

But it’ll certainly be interesting to see how he fares without his two trusted lieutenants by his side. 

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