David Moyes believes Manchester United have abandoned their traditions, as he revealed how close he came to signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos at Old Trafford.
Moyes was given the unenviable task of replacing Alex Ferguson at United, but he lasted just 10 months before being sacked in April 2014.
But the Scot felt it could have been different if he managed to complete the transfers he targeted, including bringing in Kroos from Bayern Munich.
"Toni Kroos was agreed to come in the summer," Moyes told UK newspapers.
"I had agreed it with Toni himself and his agent."
Moyes also said he wanted to sign Bale, revealing United offered more than the then world-record fee of £85.1million Real Madrid paid Tottenham.
"When I first went in my real target was Gareth Bale," the Sunderland manager said.
"I felt all along that Gareth Bale was a Manchester United player. I fought right until the last minute. We actually offered a bigger deal than Real Madrid.
"But Gareth had his mind made up on going to Real Madrid. That was, in my mind, the player I really wanted to bring to Manchester United."
As for Ronaldo, Moyes said: "I remember when I first met Sir Alex and he always said there was a chance Ronaldo might come back.
"So that was the level we were targeting."
The other player Moyes almost signed at United was Cesc Fabregas, who would later move to Chelsea.
As Moyes prepares to return to Old Trafford on Boxing Day, he said United has changed.
"Manchester United was a club with great traditions, traditions where they tended to pick British managers. That tradition has now gone," he said.
"They were a football club who enjoy traditions with the way they spent. They didn't try to compete with all the other clubs. They did what they thought was the right thing to do and spent the right way. I can say that's gone.
"There have been a few changes at Manchester United but that's the way they have chosen to go."