Arjen Robben has opened up about how he almost signed for Manchester United before his transfer to Chelsea back in 2004.
The Bayern Munich veteran sat down with FourFourTwo magazine for their May edition, and spoke about meeting legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson as talks about a possible switch to Old Trafford were held.
Robben was playing for PSV Eindhoven in his homeland at the time, and was edging towards a move to the Premier League due to the scintillating form he was producing in the Eredivisie.
However, the winger explained how he never actually ended up heading to Manchester, and instead chose to head to Stamford Bridge to become part of Jose Mourinho's revolution in west London.
He revealed: “I had a very good conversation with [Ferguson] over dinner in Manchester and we spoke about football and life. I also went and had a good look around the training ground and everything was good.
“But after I went back to PSV nothing happened. There was no real contact and the deal didn’t happen. PSV were also negotiating with Chelsea at that time, so maybe they offered PSV more money? I don’t really know.
“I spoke to Chelsea and I liked their plans. We had one meeting and everything was done pretty quickly. Had Manchester United offered me a deal straight after I met them, I would have signed there, but it didn’t happen and I’ve got no regrets.”
Robben went on to win the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup medals under Mourinho during his first stint with Chelsea before he was sold on to Real Madrid after a succession of injuries and a breakdown in his relationship with the Portuguese boss.
However, the 34-year-old added that he was grateful for the confidence that Mourinho pumped into him during his stay in England as he stated how he had grown as a player under the now United gaffer.
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Robben said: “He was really demanding and intense, but at that age I think it was good for me and my football development.
“I am a student and someone who wants to improve and work hard, so I think our personalities were a good fit. Mourinho was a good man-manager and he gave me a lot of confidence.
“For a manager, it’s difficult if a player is injured because you can’t count on him, so I could understand it a little bit. But it’s worse for a player – you want to be enjoying your football. Jose is a winner and wants strong players. I felt so much confidence from him when I was fit, but injuries created a bit of a struggle.”