Manchester United made contact with Sporting Lisbon star Mauricio over the summer over a possible move to Old Trafford, reports The Express.
Louis van Gaal went on to sign Mauricio's teammate Marcos Rojo in a £16 million deal, but not before discussing a potential move with Mauricio's representatives. With such drastic problems at centre-back, Van Gaal may be wishing he had agreed deals with both of them.
He told Brazilian outlet Esporte UOL: "They made contact with my agent, Carlos Goncalves.
"But I am a centred, focussed and very calm person.
"There were no guarantees. Here at Sporting, people like me very much and I am very happy."
Of all the clubs in the world, few have been watched by Manchester United scouts more than Sporting Lisbon. Not a week passes without some form of Old Trafford officials being spotted in the stands.
The 26-year-old defender was thought to be one of a number of stars on Manchester United's radar after it became clear that both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand would leave. Despite their position, it appears the Red Devils did not do enough to convince Mauricio.
Whether Van Gaal will renew his interest in the January transfer window is unclear. Manchester United have struggled with centre-backs so far this season with Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all struggling with injury. While youth products Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have impressed, Van Gaal may be looking to add more experience when the window reopens.
Other Sporting targets
But Mauricio may not be high on Van Gaal's list. William Carvalho, who also plays for Sporting Lisbon, is another option for the Dutchman. The defensive midfielder is also able to play in defence, making him an attractive proposition.
However, his release clause stands at a healthy £37 million and Sporting have proven to be tough negotiators in the past. United struggled to broker a deal for Rojo and ended up paying £16 million as well as agreeing to loan Nani to the club for an entire season.
Not only that, but Manchester United are also paying Nani's reported wages of £110,000-a-week. That brought the transfer up to an estimated £23 million in total.
Mats Hummels has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford in January.