Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani tried his luck with Antonio Conte before appointing Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road.
Bielsa has since gone on to lead Leeds back to the Premier League after 16 years out of the top flight of English football, but Conte was sought after first.
“I made a half joke with Conte, but it was slightly serious,” Radrizzani told Corriere della Sera.
“I offered him a super bonus if we reached the Premier League, but he already had a job then.”
A more serious attempt was made to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the Swede returned to AC Milan.
“I tried in January, yes,” Radrizzani admitted.
“He was very honest and understood that English football mightn’t be the best place for him at this stage of his career.
“He’s an extraordinary player.”
Radrizzani continued to admit that the club are hoping to convince Edinson Cavani to join.