England captain Harry Kane will turn down a summer move to Manchester United, according to a report in the Mirror. But he won’t be the first high-profile player to turn down a transfer to Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. Far from it, in fact.
Ferguson left Manchester after establishing himself as one of the greatest managers of all time, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League titles in 26 years, but has since gone downhill for the club.
United have mostly struggled since his departure, with several managers failing to bring glory back to the club despite heavy spending. Five years have passed since his last trophy.
His signing has come in for particular criticism, as despite spending a huge amount of money on newcomers, the vast majority of signings have been disappointing.
Old Trafford was once a top destination for world-class talent, but a lack of success and poor management have seen some top players turn down a move to United in favor of a better offer in recent years. .
We selected nine players who have chosen not to join the Red Devils since Ferguson left the club in the summer of 2013.
When Gareth Bale was ready to leave Tottenham in 2013, there was only one destination he would end up at and that was Real Madrid.
However, that didn’t stop others from trying and on his arrival at the club, David Moyes wanted the Welsh superstar to be his first signing.
United offered more money than Real Madrid, but not even the lure of playing with compatriot Ryan Giggs was enough to convince Bale, who made a world-record move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
“I wanted Gareth Bale to be my first signing at Manchester United. But I was already a bit down the road with Real Madrid. I tried to kidnap him. I tried to catch him,” Moyes said in 2020.
“Manchester United offered more money than Real Madrid. They offered more money to the player.
“We did everything we could to try to get the player,” Moyes added.
“We even had a helicopter at the training ground to take him in and out. We thought we had a chance. But he chose Real Madrid and made a brilliant decision because he won four Champions Leagues. He has had a brilliant career.”
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The Liverpool star has been an integral part of their success since joining from Southampton in 2016, but things could have been very different as he revealed he almost joined Manchester United.
“They made me an offer, but in the same week Klopp called me. He said: ‘I think it’s the right club,'” Mane stated in 2019.
“The right manager for me, and I think it is better that I go to Liverpool. For me I think it was also the right time. I said: ‘I’m going to Liverpool’.
“At that time, coming out of Southampton, I saw a lot of clubs, but I think Liverpool is the right club for me. I play Liverpool, I play City, United, all the teams and I scored a lot of goals against Liverpool when I was at Southampton, but I still thought this club was my club!”
Mane has scored over 100 goals for Liverpool since then, so it’s safe to say United missed out on this one.
Dimitri Payet was the king of East London during his magical spell at West Ham United, but forced himself to move in January 2017, ruining his legacy at the club to eventually join Olympique de Marseille.
Manchester United sought out the highly talented playmaker when it was revealed he had submitted a transfer request, but José Mourinho’s side were unable to sign the Frenchman.
“I am not someone who lives with regrets. I made a decision, which was as related to football as it was to family, to return to Marseille,” Payet recently told RMC Sport.
“There were other clubs, big clubs. There was Manchester United and others. It was a personal and family choice. I think it was the best for me and my family.”
The 35-year-old is still playing in Europe and could certainly have provided a quality boost at United for a while.
READ: Dimitri Payet is a soccer magician and his great goals come when they want
Just two seasons after his big-money return to Barcelona from Arsenal, Spanish midfield star Cesc Fabregas was unhappy at his boyhood club and heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.
However, Fabregas wanted to give his Barcelona career more opportunities and opted to stay on for another season rather than join David Moyes at United.
He eventually left, went to Chelsea and won two Premier League titles, so it all worked out for everyone… except United.
Everyone’s favorite midfielder joined Chelsea on the heels of winning the title with Leicester City in 2016, but almost chose José Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Mourinho had just strengthened his squad with the additions of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but wanted Kante to accompany Pogba in midfield.
Kante opted for Chelsea and has not looked back.
“It was incredible that Mourinho called me, even though they had warned me before how he would attract me,” Kante said in 2016.
“I listened to his arguments as to why I should move to United. But at that moment I was hesitating between staying at Leicester or going to Chelsea.
“My talks with them were already underway. But when I spoke, I had a good feeling with Conte.”
With current United side desperate for a central midfielder, he is arguably one of their biggest regrets.
— CFC-Blues ⭐️⭐️ (@CFCBlues_com) June 10, 2020
The English teenage sensation is currently lighting up the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, whom he joined in 2020 from Birmingham City, but United were one of many other clubs lining up for his signing.
The 18-year-old was even given a tour of United’s Carrington training ground, but he had his heart set on Dortmund.
“Well, you know, Man United have a great team, but my decision had nothing to do with Man United,” Bellingham told The Telegraph in 2020.
“I was so focused and so happy with the interest from Dortmund that this became my first choice. For me it was Borussia Dortmund and that’s it.
“When you find a place that is the best to be in, you ignore everything else, you know what I mean?”
There is nothing to rule out United moving to Bellingham in the future, and the presence of Jadon Sancho, his former England and Dortmund team-mate, could be the key difference next time around.
The Spanish striker, who joined Chelsea for around £55m in 2017, turned down an offer from Manchester United, who signed Romelu Lukaku that same summer.
Neither of the two signings worked out, and both left their respective clubs.
United have a lot of regrets in recent years. This is not one of them.
Manchester United’s hesitation in the transfer window cost them another move, as their scattershot approach to transfers meant a deal to sign Pedro had been struck and then thrown out the window.
The Barcelona star joined Chelsea in 2017 for around £22m and did quite well before leaving in 2020.
“I had offers from other English clubs: Manchester United, City and Chelsea, which was the club that resolved my signing the fastest and the one that showed the most interest in me,” said the winger at his farewell press conference at Barcelona.
“I am very happy to be at Chelsea because it is a club that, like Barça, fights for titles. But I have not gone to Chelsea just to work with Mourinho, but also because London attracts me as a city and I have friends at Chelsea.
All valid reasons, but Pedro could have added an attacking spark that Old Trafford was missing.
The Norwegian striker is the most popular property in the world and Europe’s biggest clubs are looking to negotiate a massive money deal with Borussia Dortmund to sign the deadly goalscorer.
Haaland joined Dortmund in January 2020 from FC Red Bull Salzburg but could have joined United then.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was a Norway international striker in his playing days, was manager of Manchester United and tried to convince Haaland to choose them over Dortmund.
“I chose Dortmund because I felt better here,” Haaland said when asked about turning down United in 2020.
“It is a huge club. I have always liked this club. When I mention it I start to smile because I like the club and how it is, that’s why. I like everything, everything”.
Imagine where United would be now if they had landed him then…
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