Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has suggested that the club would have signed one of world football's biggest stars had Sir Alex Ferguson remained at the club.
71-year-old Ferguson, who created somewhat of a media frenzy this week after the launch of his controversial new autobiography, finally called time on his 27-year stint in the Old Trafford dugout following the climax of the 2012/13 season after helping to secure the club their 20th top-flight title.
Ferguson's replacement - fellow Scot David Moyes - has endured a difficult first few months in the job, with his new side's underwhelming start to the season further exacerbating lingering disappointment at Red Devils' lack of decisive action during the summer transfer market.
Although Moyes evidently attempted to bolster his side with a number of high-profile transfer targets, many fans were ultimately left frustrated after several protracted pursuits proved fruitless.
While Moyes struggled to make his presence felt during the summer, Phelan - Ferguson's right-hand man during his final years at Old Trafford - has sensationally suggested that a huge arrival would have been on the cards had his former boss not decided to step down.
"If Sir Alex and David Gill had still been the bosses, I won’t name the player, but there would have been a star signing - one of the absolute best players in the world," he was quoted by the Daily Star.
“It was something the boss talked about, and the owners and David Gill were also quite clear on doing it.
"There’s very few of such players out there. I think it’s clear to everybody who I’m talking about. We didn’t see the need for a big clear-out of the squad, that’s why Sir Alex and I had one big signing in sight.
"One such star signing gives everybody a lift, we saw that with Robin van Persie," he added.
Who that player might have been, though, Phelan clearly would not reveal. It is understood that the Red Devils were chasing the signatures of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale before the summer window closed last month.