Jose Mourinho has revealed that he nearly signed Shijni Kagawa when he was at Real Madrid, saying that the playmaker chose a move to Manchester United because he thought he could get more playing time.
Kagawa joined United in 2012 and has recently been the subject of exit speculation as the Japan international continues to struggle under David Moyes.
And Mourinho has admitted that he entered into taks with Kagawa but couldn't guarantee him a starting place with Real because his first choice was now-Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil.
"I wanted Kagawa to play for Real Madrid," he told Japanese publication Sports Graphic Number. "We spoke to him, and we were about to sign him, but I was frank with him and admitted my first choice was Özil.
"I told Kagawa this because I didn't want to hide anything. In the end he chose Manchester United, maybe because he thought he'd play more in England."
If Kagawa had hoped to get more game time with United he has been sadly mistaken with both Sir Alex Ferguson and Moyes often leaving him on the peripheral. The move has brought much discontent with supporters and a possible return to Borussia Dortmund has been touted as manager Jurgen Klopp continues to sing the praises of the 24 year old.
Meanwhile, Mourinho also admitted that he does believe that players and coaches can be friends so long as they have a mutual understanding of one another's requirements on the pitch.
He used the example of Frank Lampard, who was constantly calling for Mourinho to return to Chelsea after his departure in 2007.
Lampard has been given sporadic game time since the Portoguese tactician returned to Stamford Bridge but Mourinho insists they are still able to be friends away from the game.
"A manager and a player can become friends. When I came back to Chelsea this summer, the first thing I said to my friend Frank Lampard was 'You are 35 now, if you are on form you'll play but if not, you'll be on the bench.' And Lampard said, 'I've known you since I was nine, I knew you'd say that'. If player and coach really understand each other then they can be friends."