Manchester United target Ander Herrera says the Premier League champions' failure to meet his release clause prevented a move from Athletic Bilbao on the final day of the summer transfer window.
The Spanish playmaker emerged as a target for David Moyes in the final days of the transfer period, as the Manchester United manager strived to recruit a creative influence into his midfield.
Manchester United were reported to have made an offer of £30 million for Herrera, but this fell short of the buyout fee written into the 24-year-old's contract with his current employers, who would not sell for less.
The reluctance from both sides to meet the requirements of the other prevented Manchester United being able to speak to the player himself, and Herrera has denied suggestions he spoke to his proposed new club.
Manchester United's interest, however, did flatter Herrera - but he does not feel that failing to move to Old Trafford is an opportunity missed, as he bids to continue his fine form with Athletic Bilbao.
"I feel very flattered to see that one of the biggest clubs in the world like United made an offer for me," he told a press conference.
"They made a formal offer and Athletic did not want to negotiate.
"They would have had to pay the €36million clause and then convince me, because I never saw myself leaving Athletic.
"I reached no agreement with United. I am proud they made an offer for me, and that Athletic wanted me [to stay]. At no moment did I - or my agent - agree a deal with United. At no moment did I speak to them.
"I am very happy at Athletic. I just want to play a good season at San Mames."