Watford's former technical director Filippo Giraldi has claimed that Manchester United came "extremely close" to signing Ismaila Sarr during last summer's transfer window.
The 23-year-old was strongly linked with the Red Devils in the latter stages of the market, while Liverpool are also believed to have been interested in bringing him back to the Premier League.
Giraldi has said that he was "personally negotiating" with the 20-time English champions over a move to Old Trafford, but the two sides were unable to agree a fee.
"We were extremely close, I was personally negotiating with them," Giraldi said on the Here We Go Podcast. "We weren't able to reach an agreement. And I think Ismaila is very young, he will arrive for sure.
"He missed probably an opportunity, but I think also for his football to stay here and get 10 goals and 10 assists, he's deciding the league. I think for Watford in the condition they are at the moment it's luck he stayed.
"I love Ismaila because he has the ability to affect the game every time he plays, and that's quite rare.
You see fast wingers becoming more and more important in physical leagues like the Premier League.
"I remember last year against Manchester United and Liverpool, he was the one with Gerard Deulofeu on the other side affecting the game and deciding the game every time. This type of player are players you have to try to maximise and protect them as much as you can."
Sarr has scored nine times and registered nine assists in 33 Championship appearances this season.