Fabio Capello claims Moyes came to him during the transfer window and asked for his expert opinion on his former player—with quotes from Bargellini.
A few months ago David Moyes asked me for my opinion about De Rossi and my opinion could only be positive.
If I were De Rossi, I would have gone to Manchester United. I would have wanted to go to a club where the ambition is very high.
With Moyes quizzing De Rossi's former manager on his game, it seems he too was on United's radar, as Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail reported toward the end of the summer.
He spent the majority of last season playing off the striker at Everton and will take time to familiarise himself with his more defensive responsibilities. However, Michael Carrick is in dire need of some immediate defensive security alongside him to free him up.
The thought of De Rossi anchoring United's midfield beside him feels like a considerable upgrade from Fellaini and is something United should have explored further.
De Rossi is a seasoned international, approaching 100 caps for Italy. At 30, he's perhaps not the ideal age for United to target, but he would have made a sizeable contribution on the pitch.
He's a formidable tackler, impossible to shake off and adds an unheralded amount of creativity to his team. He's also competent further up the pitch and can slot back into defence.
Fellaini has certainly excelled in midfield before and has regularly claimed it to be his preferred role. He may well go on to shine for United, but such is De Rossi's mastery of his position, he would have provided the instant impact needed in the heart of midfield.
Had it been De Rossi lining up in the Manchester derby, it's conceivable Yaya Toure and Fernandinho would not have had such a telling influence on the game.