Angel di Maria agreed a deal in principle with AS Monaco well before the World Cup in anticipation of a transfer from Real Madrid, according to Le 10 Sport.
The Argentina star eventually joined Manchester United in a British record £59.7 million deal, but was more than prepared to join the principality club. The report claims that Di Maria agreed terms and was only waiting for Monaco to agree a fee with Real Madrid to complete the move.
Monaco have been bankrolled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and the owner was prepared to plough more funds to bring Di Maria to the club. However, a costly divorce with his wife Elena forced him to put the brakes on.
The couple have been engaged in a six-year court battle over a settlement. The divorce is rumoured to be costing Rybolovlev, who is worth $8.8 billion, a fair chunk of his fortune.
Not only that, but Monaco have also been limited by Uefa's strict implementation of Financial Fair Play rules. Their Ligue 1 rivals PSG also had to pull out of a deal for Di Maria for the same reasons. The Parisians were fined around £40 million for their violations and were threatened with harsher repercussions if they continue to breach regulations.
That has worked out perfectly for Manchester United, who were left with clear run to sign the 26-year-old this summer. It was a huge financial outlay, costing Louis van Gaal almost £60 million in transfer fees. They also handed Di Maria a huge £280,000-a-week pay packet.
However, Manchester United have been warned that they too may come under scrutiny from Uefa in the near future as one executive claimed they would start to punish clubs for debt rather than losses.
The general secretary of Uefa, Gianni Infantino, said to reporters: "We're now focused on losses and to repay the debt is part of the loss that the club can make at the end of the season. But, certainly, the question of debt is something that can be put on the table."
Di Maria has since got off to a flying start at Old Trafford, scoring three goals and assisting three more in just five Premier League starts. Having been a key player for Real Madrid in their Champions League-winning season, Di Maria has managed to translate that good form to the Premier League.