They ended up getting Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, although had to stump up £27.5million.
United had showed interest in Ozil in the summer, but dithered over lodging a bid for the 24-year-old who joined Arsenal for £42.4m.
The Red Devils have tried to play this down but a source close to the club, said: "United made a call.
Kenny Moyes, David's brother who is an agent, was trying desperately to get hold of Ozil's agent
"I think that by the time they managed it it was too late."
Ozil has gone on to make a flying start with the Gunners, who currently top the Premier League.