Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan claims the club would have signed "one of the best players in the world" last summer had Sir Alex Ferguson not called time on his reign at Old Trafford.
After Russia boss Fabio Capello backed up the claims of Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez that United bid £100 million to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham in August, Phelan has added weight to suggestions that the Premier League champions have the finances in place to sign a marquee player.
"I won't name the player, but if Sir Alex and David Gill had still been the bosses, there would have been a star signing -- one of the absolute best players in the world," Phelan is reported to have told a Scandinavia-based United supporters’ club magazine, as reported by the Daily Mirror.
"It was something the boss talked about and the owners and David Gill were also quite clear on doing it. There's very few of such players out there. I think it’s clear to everybody who I’m talking about.
"We didn’t see the need for a big clear-out of the squad, that’s why Sir Alex and I had one big signing in sight. One such star signing gives everybody a lift, we saw that with Robin van Persie."
Meanwhile, Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has become the first Premier League manager to publicly criticise Ferguson for breaking the code of dressing room silence by revealing secrets from his time as United boss.
An unwritten rule of the game has long been that 'what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room', but Ferguson opted to ignore that policy as he made revelations aplenty in his much-discussed autobiography.
"I think that when you are part of a football team it is group," said Laudrup. "That means the players and the staff, including the manager and all that administration.
"You are a group and the bigger things from the outside always try to come in, and as a manager you always say 'okay we have to try to be a group' and then suddenly a few years later things about that come out in books or in interviews.
"People sometimes start to talk about what happened there, and what people said. You think at that time everyone agreed they were all a group and you see so many times people coming out saying what happened and what he did.
"I wouldn't do it, so don’t expect me in five or 10 years time to write a book. People are always saying what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room."