The defender has bemoaned the Red Devils’ “missed opportunity” to sign the Netherlands star before he moved to Chelsea in 2004
Rio Ferdinand has revealed his regret at Manchester United missing out on the signing of Arjen Robben and believes he would have “fitted in” at the club.
The Dutchman, who was just 20 when he moved to Stamford Bridge, proved a big hit in the Premier League and now boasts title-winning medals in England, Spain and Germany, as well as his home country.
With a Champions League crown and 77 international caps also under his belt, Robben – currently enjoying a productive World Cup with the Netherlands – is among the world’s best players and Ferdinand wishes United had made a greater effort to bring sign him prior to Chelsea.
“Arjen Robben has been the outstanding player of the tournament for me so far, and not for the first time I’ve being thinking ‘if only’ about the missed opportunity Manchester United had to sign him when he was young,” he wrote in the Mail on Sunday.
“He should have been a United player. He would have fitted in.
“He had a brilliant breakthrough season with PSV in 2002-03, a campaign in which he turned 19, and Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him.
“United made a bid of something around £5 million (€6.25m) and Sir Alex was always determined he wouldn’t over-pay for any player.
“When that was rejected, Chelsea paid something like £12m (€15m).”