Manchester United left it too late to enter into transfer negotiations for Daniele De Rossi, according to AS Roma coach Rudi Garcia, reports Sky Sports.
The Serie 'A' club were prepared to listen to offers for the Italy international during the summer, but only up until the start of the 2013/14 campaign.
In an interview with French publication L'Equipe, Garcia explained that the player and club had come to an agreement over a date for De Rossi's prospective departure, and confirmed that Manchester United's enquiry came after the deadline.
Red Devils boss David Moyes was linked with moves for a number of high profile midfielders during the transfer window, but settled for the deadline day acquisition of Marouane Fellaini from former club Everton, who arrived at Old Trafford in a £27.5million deal.
However, news of their missed opportunity to sign the 30-year-old World Cup winner will surely come as a huge blow to Manchester United supporters that still crave the addition of a creative midfielder to their ranks this season.
"In the summer we talked about his future. He is from Rome, but there were some big clubs looking at him," Garcia confirmed in his L'Equipe interview.
"I told him that I could not lose him last minute, so we set a date after which no-one would leave. That is exactly what happened.
"A few days after the first Serie A match of the season, Manchester United called the club and called him, but the date had passed and he didn't move."