The former-Barça playmaker Thiago snubbed United to join Pep Guardiola at Bayern but he wasn't not the only one to turn down Manchester United over the years...
11) Thiago Alcantara
One of the summer’s most protracted transfer stories so far, the player described as ‘the most unique and gifted player to come out of La Masia’ rejected the interest of last year’s Premier League champions for Guardiola’s Bayern Munich. Thiago left Barcelona due to a lack of first-team opportunities, and although the player’s father revealed a deal was ‘very close’ with United, Pep's project seemed to be a far more exciting opportunity to the youngster, swinging the pendulum to the German giants. Despite the world class midfield he will have to compete with there, the decision to join Bayern over United is completely understandable. You can't blame Thiago. After all, what kind of player would choose to play for Moyes over Guardiola?
10) Cesc Fabregas
The former Arsenal starlet's return to his boyhood club Barcelona in the summer of 2011 was one of the most prolonged and emotional transfer sagas of the summer; by returning to his Catalonian roots, Fabregas was fulfilling his destiny, whilst Arsenal made close to a cool £30m profit on the player. Despite winning La Liga last season and a host of other trophies during 2011-12, the Spaniard has struggled to regularly oust the aging Xavi or the imperious Andres Iniesta from starting in Barcelona's midfield. Surely a move to a world-renowned club in a country he knows makes sense then? Alas, no. Fabregas' loyalty to Arsenal, as well as a stubbornness to give up on his Catalan dream, has meant that the brilliant midfielder has thus far rejected the lure of United.
Prior to his transfer to Barcelona, Ronaldinho was a player very much on the Man United wishlist. Not only that, but PSG reported at the time that the player was ’99.9% sure to go to Manchester United.’ Despite the assurance, Manchester United were outbid by Barcelona at the last minute to join the Catalan giants for €30m as a backup signing to the Real Madrid bound David Beckham. r, Ronaldinho even claimed earlier this year that "If Manchester United had signed me they would have won more European Cups." One thing’s for sure, they certainly missed out.
Whilst at Newcastle, Gazza was probably the biggest prospect in English football so understandably, United were very keen on bringing him in. In an inexplicable moment of madness which not even Gazza himself could explain, the then 21 year old opted to join Tottenham Hotspur instead, leading Sir Alex Ferguson to describe him as the player he most regrets missing out on. Judging by the list of players in that category, it’s high praise indeed from the recently retired Scot. Who knows what he could have become if he'd opted for United over Spurs.
7) Alan Shearer
Shearer may be the only player to have turned down Ferguson not once, but twice. The first time was when he chose to join newly promoted Blackburn Rovers over Fergie’s runners up in a move which is arguably the 20th Century equivalent to joining Monaco over PSG. Shearer cites the reason for the choice as simply a matter of wanting to join a club as soon as possible, and that he didn’t want to wait 3 to 4 weeks for United to raise the funds to pay his transfer fee. The second time around came in 1996, but the allure of Shearer’s hometown club, Newcastle United was too strong for him to resist. He admits that without the Toon Army gate-crashing the wedding between Shearer and the Red Devils, he’d have been wearing the famous red shirt instead.
6) Arjen Robben
Robben was one of the hottest properties in Dutch football when Ferguson first became interested in the winning goalscorer of last season’s Champions League final. It was 2004, and the young Arjen (he still had hair then) was given a tour of the Carrington training ground leaving Robben’s father to claim that it was a choice between United and PSV for his son. The reluctance by Manchester United to pay more than €7m was a lackadaisical mistake which ended up with the Dutchman joining Mourinho’s new-look Chelsea for the astronomical price of £18m. The era of ridiculous transfer fees had begun.
5) Wesley Sneijder
It’s one of the most drawn-out annual events of the year, and no I’m not talking about the Queen’s Christmas speech. Wesley Sneijder to Manchester United has been a transfer story reported ever since I remember. But has there ever been any truth to the story? Well yes, actually there was. In June 2010, United tried persistently to sign a player who was one of the best midfielders on the planet at the time. However, Sneijder turned down the offer to remain with Inter under new coach Rafa Benitez. And we all know how that turned out …
An under-appreciated player under Frank Rijkaard, Xavi became arguably the best midfielder in the world under Pep Guardiola. But what would have happened if he’d joined Manchester United in 2008? There was certainly contact between the two clubs, and even rumours that the playmaker might have been involved in a swap deal for Cristiano Ronaldo. Nevertheless, Xavi had always been touted as the heir to Guardiola’s throne in the Barcelona midfield, so when his idol took over as manager in the summer of 2008, Pep made sure he was the centre-piece.
Benzema was regarded as one of the most talented strikers in world football when he joined Real Madrid for £30m in 2009.The Frenchma did however have the choice to sign for The Red Devils instead of opting for Los Blancos as United looked to bolster their frontline following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo for £80m. However, the failure to capture Benzema left Fergie looking red-faced once again. Oh, wait a second …
In 1998, United were heavily interested in the Dutchman, and agreed a £9m fee with Milan. However, Kluivert rejected their advances, claiming that he would prefer to move to a London club. Ferguson’s publically displayed his disgust at Kluivert’s rejection, stating: “It won't be the last time this kind of thing happens but players we really want we usually get. We were led to believe he wanted to speak to us, but you know what agents are like. Maybe he doesn't know how big a club Manchester United is." Sour grapes? It wasn't all bad, they ended up with Dwight Yorke instead.
One of the best wingers of recent times, Franck Ribery is another player who has said ‘Non’ to Fergie. The Frenchman was the subject of a club record bid by Manchester United during the 2009/2010 season but Ribery rejected their advances to sign a five year deal at the Bavarian giants in May 2010. Prior to that he'd stated that he would only move to Madrid if he were to leave, leaving him to join an exclusive club of players to reject England’s most successful side.
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