Manchester United reportedly balked at Leicester City's £75 million valuation of Harry Maguire this summer and consequently failed to cut a deal for the defender, but they could have signed him last year for just £15 million.
The Telegraph's James Ducker wrote that was the figure the Red Devils were quoted by Hull City in 2017, but they passed up the opportunity before Leicester sealed a deal for £12 million plus £5 million in add-ons.
The £75 million Leicester were seeking for Maguire this summer would have been more than six times the initial sum they paid for him 12 months ago and would have matched the world-record fee for a defender.
Instead of Maguire, 25, United recruited Sweden international Victor Lindelof from Benfica in a £31 million deal, but after the former's sterling displays for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the Red Devils were linked again this summer.
Leicester begin their Premier League campaign against United at Old Trafford on Friday, and Foxes manager Claude Puel was in a playful mood on transfer deadline day:
Sky Sports News reported on deadline day that Maguire was still hopeful of securing a move to join the Red Devils, though the centre-back always seemed professional on the matter:
Twelve months on from their failure to snag a cut-price Maguire from Hull, United are attempting to make a success out of Lindelof, who was signed for twice the price but has still not settled in the Premier League.
The Old Trafford club had an extensive list of centre-back targets this summer. Jerome Boateng, Diego Godin, Toby Alderweireld and Yerry Mina were all linked until the dying embers of deadline day, with The Independent's Mark Critchley reporting each of those player's was on manager Jose Mourinho's shortlist, but United ended the transfer window having failed to strengthen the position.
Leicester came out winners by resisting United's attempts to bring in their World Cup star, although writer Rob Blanchette argued it would have been money poorly spent:
Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B
I’d have loved Maguire at #MUFC, I’m a big fan but I can see why the club didn’t want to break the world record for a Leicester City centreback. Yep, if you can buy Varane, you break the record. Note: none of this opinion is ‘backing the Glazers’ - it just feels like logic to me.
Former Premier League full-back Stephen Warnock disagreed and told BBC 5 live Sport that the Red Devils should have committed the necessary funds to prise the England international from the King Power Stadium:
Last season's Premier League runners-up will be kicking themselves at the missed opportunity, while Leicester have again reaped the benefits of their excellent recruitment department.
The Red Devils could have saved a lot of money and on-pitch angst had they taken a risk on the 6'4" central defender following Hull's relegation in 2017, but they are now unable to justify meeting his new valuation.