I was told to snub Chelsea and stay at Man United – I should have listened


It wasn’t often a player left Manchester United out of choice under Sir Alex Ferguson, and very few left to join a rival team.

Both David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo left for another country amid their transfers to European counterparts Real Madrid while Carlos Tevez, of course, is remembered for that infamous cross-city switch in 2009. Juan Sebastian Veron also makes that short list.

He left for Chelsea in 2003 in one of Roman Abramovich’s first signings as club owner. The Argentine only enjoyed two years at Old Trafford before making the decision to leave. He scored 11 times in 82 appearances and took his leave after lifting the Premier League title. Veron moved to United for a British transfer record, arriving at Old Trafford for £28.1million.

“You’ve seen the escalation and it’s unthinkable but it is a matter between clubs nowadays and the players have no say about the values placed on them. I think he’s coming into great years of his career and he will peak and we’ll get the benefit of that. He is a world-class, fantastic footballer with a vision of a game we can use.”

Like all United players, Veron admired Sir Alex. Speaking in 2021, the midfielder spoke glowingly of the great man and unpacked how his style of management kept standards at a peak level.

Veron said: “He was so demanding with everybody. If you couldn’t keep up, it was clear you would have to look elsewhere. He was always forthright with me, but he had my back from day one, which was very much appreciated.

“At some points, I wasn’t able to give him everything he expected from me consistently. He got it in a few matches but not in others, and if you want to be a great player, your game has to be stable. I couldn’t deliver it at Old Trafford.”

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