Former Manchester United coach Phil Neville has revealed that he scouted Paris Saint-Germain’s Blaise Matuidi with a view to the club signing the midfielder last season.

Matuidi, 27, has been in the French capital since joining Saint-Étienne in 2011 but appeared available on a transfer last season.

Neville was sent to scout him but any deal for the French international was ruled out when he signed a new contract at the Parc des Princes shortly after.

Blaise Matuidi is an energetic central midfielder who wins a lot of possession back for Laurent Blanc’s side and does get forward, although is rarely involved in the goals. He may not be the signing that sells a lot of Manchester United tickets, but he would give the team the stability to go forward and create more goal scoring opportunities and perform more consistently throughout the season.

Matuidi would have been an ideal replacement for Wayne Rooney in the centre of United’s midfield this season (or even next) which would have allowed the club captain to partner Robin van Persie up front, whilst Radamel Falcao is out of form.

Phil Neville told BBC Five Live:

“We wanted to sign him [Matuidi]. We’d heard his contract was running out and we were really interested in him. Then he signed a contact with Paris St Germain.

We were looking at it at Manchester United last year to inject a little bit of energy. He runs from box to box and he carried the team forward simply through his energy on that left channel.”

Manchester United’s loss has been Paris Saint-Germain’s gain as the club ran away with the French Ligue 1 title last season and are once again in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League.

The French side were eliminated on away goals to Chelsea at the quarter-final stage last season, and to Barcelona the year before at the same stage, also on away goals. On Tuesday night they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Chelsea in in the first leg of their second round tie. It was Matuidi who crossed the ball for Edinson Cavani to head home their goal.

Manchester United have been strongly linked with a number of central midfielders since the summer – firstly, they missed out on Cesc Fàbregas and Toni Kroos, who went to Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively.

They were also reportedly in for the likes of Arturo Vidal, Kevin Strootman and William Carvalho – all whom have stayed with their clubs in both the summer and winter transfer windows. A potential move for either player could still be on this summer as manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed he is looking for a midfielder at the end of the season.