Jose Mourinho wanted to bring N’Golo Kante to Manchester United in the summer.
After starring for Leicester City last season, the Frenchman was on United’s radar. Mourinho wanted a resolute midfielder to sit in front of the defence while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and co. fired the goals.
Of course, Kante would end up joining Chelsea in a deal worth £32 million. Money well spent? His Premier League stats - 91.1 per cent pass success rate, 2.1 interceptions per game, three tackles per game - would suggest so.
His move to Chelsea came a few years after Mourinho tried to sign him for, yes, Chelsea.
According to the Telegraph, Chelsea scouted Kante when he was still playing in France but decided against signing him.
The reason why? Mourinho’s brief at the time was to target taller, more robust players. Kante, who measures 5ft, 6ins, didn’t fit the mould.
Given the France international's performances in the Premier League, it was a decision that Mourinho has come to regret. The 25-year-old is drawing comparisons with Claude Makelele with each passing game.
Chelsea gave Kante a "good feeling"
Mourinho didn’t want Kante then; Kante didn’t want Mourinho in the summer. Instead, he had a “good feeling” after speaking with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
“It was amazing to have Mourinho call me, even though I'd been warned before how he would appeal to me,” Kante admitted last month, per the Daily Mail.
“I listened to his arguments about why I should move to United. But at that time I was hesitant between staying at Leicester or leaving for Chelsea.
“My discussions with them were already well underway. But when I spoke, I had a good feeling with Conte.”
Mourinho would end up signing a French midfielder and he would cost nearly three times Kante’s fee. Paul Pogba joined from Juventus in a world record £89m deal.
While Pogba was a luxury signing, Kante would have been a necessary one.