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David Moyes reached a verbal agreement to sign Toni Kroos for Manchester United – only to be sacked months before completing the blockbuster transfer.
The German international has forged a career as one of the best midfielders in European football over the last decade, and has lifted the Champions League trophy three times with Real Madrid. Kroos has been a stalwart for both club and country, helping Joachim Low's team win the World Cup in the summer of 2014.
But just months prior to this international triumph, Kroos had been personally convinced by Moyes to swap Munich for Manchester ahead of the 2014/15 season. The Bayern star had reached a deadlock over contract negotiations to remain in the Bundesliga, and received a personal visit from the Red Devils' boss as he pitched a deal.
Moyes even met Kroos' seven-month-old son Leon, and the former Everton boss persuaded the midfielder of the merits of a move to United. The German international told the Mail Online: "I knew beforehand that United wanted me, and Moyes absolutely underlined that. It was a really nice afternoon with very pleasant people.
"We talked a lot about United's football plan, which convinced me. But we also got to know each other as people. We knew quite a bit about the Moyes family afterwards. We talked about how we lived and how we all imagined life as a family.
"In the end we broke up to do it. So we agreed verbally. The next step should be to look at everything on the spot in Manchester. The move would not have been that complicated – after all, we only had one child at the time, seven months old. It would all have worked."
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However, Moyes' efforts would prove to be in vain as the so-called 'Chosen One' was sacked in April 2014. Sir Alex Ferguson's successor was dismissed after just 10 months in the Old Trafford hotseat after defeat against former side Everton.
United's interest in Kroos remained, but Moyes proved to be the driving force behind the deal and the midfielder would instead agree a summer switch to Real Madrid. Speaking ahead of the La Liga winners' Champions League second-leg clash with Manchester City, the 32-year-old insists he does not dwell on what might have been.
Kroos added: "I'm not someone who thinks about hypotheticals. Yes, it was close. I almost went to Manchester United. But that's not how things turned out. I don't have these what-if-thoughts. Because there are no real answers to them. The only thing I can say with certainty is that I probably wouldn't have won the Champions League three times with Manchester United."
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