The 76-year-old retired from managing after guiding the Red Devils to the Premier League title in 2013, but was already lining up potential recruits that summer.
One of those targets are now plying their trade at United's fiercest rivals – Manchester City.
Wilfried Zaha turned out to be the last signing Ferguson made before departing the Theatre of Dreams, but he had his eyes set on three of Germany's hottest prospects at the time.
Speaking to MEN Sport, Meulensteen said: "The fact that he was going to retire or finish came to me and a lot of others as a complete bombshell.
"He was as sharp as ever. He was always an early bird, always arriving early at Carrington. I didn't read anything in him where it suggested it would be his last season.
"We had very normal staff meetings regarding pre-season. That year we were going to Australia. Sir Alex even mentioned taking us to one of the best vineyards out there. I was looking forward to that!
"We had possible scouting meetings, possible players we were looking at in terms of trying to build a picture of what we think we need. All that was ongoing.
'WTF U WEARIN' Manchester United star Jesse Lingard wears bizarre FURRY shoes as he takes in London views from the Shard
"We looked at a few German players like Hummels, who went to Bayern Munich. I think we looked at Gundogan and Reus, too. There was a number of players but we never got that specific to really target them."
Gundogan, 27, signed for City in 2016 from Borussia Dortmund for around £20million, and has established himself as a key man under Pep Guardiola.
Source: Read Full Article