Manchester United could have pursued an opportunity to appoint Pep Guardiola as Alex Ferguson's successor, according to Jordi Cruyff.
Guardiola left Barcelona in 2012 and took a sabbatical away from the game, agreeing in January 2013 to take over Bayern Munich.
That decision came five months before Ferguson brought his extraordinary tenure at Old Trafford to a close, the Scot announcing his retirement in May 2013.
United subsequently appointed David Moyes, whose brief, unsuccessful spell in charge was followed by an inconsistent period under Louis van Gaal.
Guardiola, meanwhile, went on to win three Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich and has now led Manchester City to the Premier League crown.
Jose Mourinho, the latest man to try and fill the void left by Ferguson, has lifted the League Cup and Europa League at United, while reaching this season's FA Cup final, but they sit a distant 16 points behind City in the league.
And Cruyff, who played with Guardiola at Barca and under Ferguson at United, feels the Red Devils' hierarchy should have tried to secure the services of the Catalan coach.
"I've always felt, not now but before Guardiola went to Bayern Munich, I always felt there was a chance that Manchester United had the chance to go for it," he told Sky Sports.
"I think there was a moment where things were lined up, it was there, but Man United chose someone else, I'm talking many years ago, and he took a different way.
"I think he would have suited a club like Man United many years before. I'm not talking this era, not now, I'm talking like five or six years ago I think.
"There was a moment where things were aligned, that was the moment, and United took a different path."