Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward set Bournemouth a 15-minute deadline to respond to their offer for striker Josh King, before opting to sign Odion Ighalo on the final day of the January transfer window instead.
United were desperate to recruit a new forward after top scorer Marcus Rashford was ruled out for at least six weeks with a back injury.
As the transfer deadline loomed, the Red Devils launched a late bid for Bournemouth striker King – a player who had been part of United’s youth set up as a teenager.
According to The Athletic, Ed Woodward spoke with Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake, ringing him to table a £25m offer for the Cherries forward.
Over the phone, Woodward said: “You have 15 minutes to tell us whether you accept, or we’ll be signing a player from China.”
Bournemouth were unsure whether this abrupt deadline was serious, and waited to consider the proposal.
However, Woodward was true to his word, and while the Cherries remained silent, United moved for Shanghai Shenhua striker Ighalo, with a loan deal for the former Watford man swiftly wrapped up.
King was left to rue missing out on a move that would have been a ”dream come true”, having moved from Norway to England in 2008 as a 16-year-old in order to join United.
The 28-year-old rejected offers from Chelsea, Sunderland and Ipswich to sign for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. However he joined Blackburn Rovers in 2013 having made only two senior appearances for the Red Devils.
King moved to Bournemouth in 2015 ahead of the Cherries’ first ever season in the top flight, and has gone on to score 47 times in 161 matches.
Ighalo meanwhile is in line to make his Man Utd debut against Chelsea on Monday night. The 30-year-old had been training away from his new teammates during his first few days at Carrington as a precaution due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.