Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed he was offered the chance to sign Manchester United duo Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao during last year's summer transfer window but turned down the opportunity due to the pair's wage demands.
Di Maria and Falcao moved to Old Trafford in two of the most sensational transfers of the summer in deals worth £59.7m and £6m respectively (Falcao on a season-long loan deal) as United manager Louis van Gaal conducted a record window of spending.
World-renowned super agent Jorge Mendes clinched both deals after the duo expressed their desire to leave Real Madrid and Monaco, leading to them being offered to a host of big-name European clubs, including Chelsea, before joining United.
Mourinho has confirmed Di Maria and Falcao were close to joining Chelsea before United stepped in, with the Portuguese boss claiming in a new book, The Key To Mendes, that their financial demands made them untenable additions.
"Jorge told me Di Maria and Falcao are his players and he has to find solutions for them," Mourinho said in the book.
"But if Chelsea doesn't have the financial capacity to pay eight, nine or €10m a year, because of [financial] fair play, of course Mendes has to think about his players.
"We couldn't bring Falcao or Di Maria because I didn't want to, either. I can't have a player earning €10m when others earn three, four or five. That would have caused an explosion."
Though many Chelsea fans may question rejecting players of Di Maria and Falcao's standing, the success of signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas – with the club currently five points clear at the top of the Premier League – should be enough to convince any sceptics.
Both players have struggled in their early months with United despite the club's surge into the top four in the Premier League.
British record signing Di Maria has suffered a host of injury problems, while Falcao's record of three goals this term looks set to see him return to Monaco at the end of the season.