Step back to the summer of 2013: simpler, happier times in which we all held the naïve hope that being Glaswegian was a sufficient qualification to manage Manchester United, and in which the prospect of new, exciting midfielders arriving was a very real one.
The Chosen One was supposedly intent on making Barcelona youngster Thiago Alcântara his own Chosen One, only for the deal to mysteriously collapse in what seemed to be both the first sign of Ed Woodward's ineptitude and Ryan Giggs' stupidity -- the new assistant manager was reported to have vetoed the move on the basis that he wasn't "a Manchester United player."
Whether those things are true or not, we have no idea, but Thiago has given an interview with the Guardian's Sid Lowe ahead of Bayern's Champions League semifinal against Bayern in which he confirmed that joining United was "a possibility," albeit one that was never really an option anyway on the quite reasonable basis that David Moyes is David Moyes, and not Pep Guardiola:
There once was talk of Manchester United. Was that a possibility? "Yes, but the real possibility was Bayern," he says. Because of Guardiola? If he had stayed at Barcelona, would you? "Yes, probably, but I can't change the past and I prefer to focus on now. You learn something new every day with Pep, a magnificent coach who transmits real passion."
It's a story corroborated by Martí Perarnau's rather interesting book Pep Confidential, which traced the coach's movements throughout the 2013-14 season. Despite the negotiations being protracted, Thiago was only ever interested in leaving Bayern to rejoin his compatriot (if you can call a Spanish international born in Italy to Brazilian parents the compatriot of a proud Catalan, which you probably can't) in Bavaria.
Now let's collectively sit back, put our feet up, and weep as Thiago delivers another midfield masterclass. Thiago and Paul Pogba. Oh, what could have been.