Manchester United were prepared to sign Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller "at any cost" during the summer transfer window, before dropping their interest in the Germany international. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge continually denied that he would contemplate the prospect of selling Muller during the off-season and agent Giovanni Branchini says the Bungesliga champions' stubbornness stifled a potential deal.
German publication Bild had claimed that Louis van Gaal's side had submitted an offer of €100m (£73m, $111m) for the 26-year-old, amid the departure of Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Radamel Falcao. Anthony Martial eventually arrived from Monaco, but the club still remain light in attacking options.
Rummenigge held off interest from United throughout the summer, following Bastian Schweinsteiger's surprise move to Old Trafford, and confirmed on several occasions that no further players would be leaving the club for the Premier League giants. Branchini's account of Van Gaal's pursuit of Muller correlates with this, and he says the club were forced to withdraw their interest such was Bayern's mulishness.
"Manchester United wanted Thomas Muller at all costs," he said in an interview with Calciomercato.com. "I've spent days trying to explain Bayern Munich would never let him leave. So in the end they changed their mind.
"English football is growing up very fast and for Italian football, for example, it could be more and more complicated to buy not only the biggest stars like Neymar but the second or third level too. At this moment Sunderland or Aston Villa can spend as well as Juventus or Milan do, because of the TV rights."
Though United failed in their pursuit of what would have been the marquee addition of the summer, the addition of Martial has so far paid dividends. The France international has scored four goals in as many starts in all competitions and is now being entrusted with leading the line alongside Wayne Rooney.