Former Newcastle boss reportedly did not want two of his summer signings.
The former manager was sacked last week and replaced with Rafa Benitez, who was available after being dismissed by Real Madrid earlier in the season.
The Guardian claim: "[McClaren] was handed certain players he did not want – most notably Florian Thauvin and Aleksandar Mitrovic, by [Graham] Carr."
Both players cost the club more than £10 million, but have made disappointing contributions.
Thauvin lasted just six months before being sent back on loan to former club Marseille, having failed to establish himself in McClaren's plans.
Mitrovic has been more of a conundrum, scoring just five goals for the club. Yet with the club light on strikers they have persisted with the Serbian, and his work rate can't be denied.
It is up to Benitez to attempt to get the best out of him now, and if he stays into next season, he may even find a big role for Florian Thauvin too upon his return.