Pardew wanted to sign the England international, but the Magpies manager admitted the club could not compete with the Red Devils for the forward.
Instead, the 49-year-old believes backed his strategy of scouring the French market for deals, having signed Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Goufran, Massadio Haidara and Moussa Sissoko all from Ligue 1 this month.
“There is slightly more value in the French market,” said Pardew. “Obviously, we have exploited that.
“Zaha is a typical example of trying to take a young player out of the Championship. I like Zaha. I wanted to take him but, seriously, we had no chance. We just can’t pay that.
“We got four players for that. It suited our needs better to strengthen several positions for that sort of money.
“It was a case of getting the players that were right for us at the price that was right for us.
“We wanted players who had ambition in them, not just for six months but for the future. None of them was a knee-jerk reaction, otherwise we would have bought a 31-year-old from a squad in the Premier League.
“We bought players to take us forward. We are happy with the business we have done.”