Robben: I would have signed for Man United back in 2003 if Ferguson asked me

The Dutch winger made a move to England in 2004, but ended up joining Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

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ARJEN ROBBEN HAS revealed that he would have joined Manchester United over Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2004 had Sir Alex Ferguson asked him to.

The Dutch winger was an emerging talent on the books at PSV when Premier League interest in his services was first shown.

United had been monitoring him for some time and went as far as holding talks regarding a possible switch to Old Trafford.

Ferguson was, however, to opt against following up on those discussions and Robben ended up heading to Stamford Bridge in a £12 million deal – where he would win two titles, two League Cups and the FA Cup.

Looking back on that transfer saga, the now 34-year-old Bayern Munich star told FourFourTwo: “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’s star continued to rise upon joining Chelsea, with his direct running and keen eye for goal seeing him flourish under the guidance of Mourinho.

The Dutchman added on his time spent working under a coach now in charge at Old Trafford: “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.

Gavin Cooney
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“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.”

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