In a parallel world, Erling Haaland and Jack Grealish are preparing for the upcoming derby against Manchester City. Haaland studied with former coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from Molde to Manchester United, while Grealish moved from Aston Villa to Red Devils in 2020.
Meanwhile, City defenders Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, wearing light blue tracksuits, are discussing how to stop Haaland and Grealish and preparing for the criticism they will receive from the crowd. Stretford End station.
Maguire joined City in 2019 along with Brazilian striker Antony, while Lindelof moved to the Etihad Stadium two years earlier. Raphael Varane is on the bench for City after recovering from a minor injury along with veteran Alexis Sanchez.
Paul Pogba, who controversially moved from the red half of Manchester to the blue half in 2022 as a free agent, will line up in midfield alongside Bruno Fernandes, who chose City over United in 2019 …
Okay, let’s go back to reality, although it’s interesting to think about what happened. Because, had it not been for some differences of opinion between football directors, chairman and representatives, some of the players involved in Sunday’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford might have been standing in opposite rows.
With City looking for a fourth Premier League title in a row and still within their dreams after winning their third cup, and United enduring a poor run of results coupled with chaos off the field, many of those players have You may have wished you had chosen a different destination. And City fans will thank their luck in avoiding some of the players who failed at Old Trafford.
GOAL will list all the players who almost moved to City but ended up joining United and had an unhappy time as a result…
In January 2018, with only a few months left on his contract at Arsenal, Sanchez faced a choice between two of the world’s top coaches. One option is to reunite with Pep Guardiola, the man who signed him at Barcelona and who he has said is “like a father to me”.
Another option is Jose Mourinho, who is looking to bring United back to the top. The Portuguese coach, who was watching his opponents race for the trophy, could not bear the thought of another top player strengthening City and called on Sanchez.
“I’m going to City,” Sanchez told La Tercera earlier this year. “We talked every day, he sent me messages. Suddenly the phone rang. Mourinho told me: ‘Alexis, the number 7 shirt is empty waiting for you’. I wanted to leave right then, but I didn’t. accepted Guardiola’s invitation.
“That’s when I thought, a Chilean footballer is playing for Manchester United, which has never happened. With the number 7 of Cantona, Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and now a Chilean already there, it’s a dream.” dream.”
However, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare for everyone involved. Sanchez later confessed that after his first training session with United, he asked his agent if he could cancel his contract and return to Arsenal.
The Chilean, believed to be on a salary of around £400,000 ($485,000) per week, never came close to matching his form at Arsenal at United, and when United got off to a poor start to the following season, he was subjected to heavy criticism.
After a miserable 18 months at United, Sanchez left to join Inter Milan, with just five goals in 45 matches and a complete lack of confidence and vitality, becoming a ghost of the player he once was.
Maguire is considered one of the top centre-backs in Europe after an impressive 2018 World Cup, and both City and United vied for his signature the following summer. Guardiola was a fan and the club was prepared to meet the £70 million ($85 million) asking price of the Red Devils, but left when Leicester, seeing competition between the two rival teams, increased their asking price. to 80 million pounds ($97 million).
“We were interested but couldn’t buy him. United could,” Guardiola admitted later. While Maguire had a perfect debut at Old Trafford with a 4-0 win over Chelsea, things quickly became chaotic for him. He restored his form to lead United to two consecutive top-four finishes, but when the team began to decline under Solskjaer, he was blamed for the team’s horrific collapse, which included losing 0-5 against Liverpool at home.
Erik ten Hag only started Maguire in eight Premier League matches last season and wanted to sell him to West Ham for just £30 million ($36 million) in the summer, but the defender refused to leave.
Maguire is on the road to recovery after facing ridicule from all sides and has helped lead United to three consecutive wins, including the only goal against Copenhagen. But City, who signed Ruben Dias in 2020 for £64m ($77m), certainly have no regrets about not being successful in signing Maguire.
Pogba’s second spell at Manchester United became a long and painful saga, finally ending when his promising six-year contract expired in June 2022.
Despite his injury problems and the fact he failed to truly shine under Mourinho, Solskjaer or Ralf Rangnick, City were interested in signing him as a free agent. This is not the first time Pogba has been linked with City, as Guardiola revealed he was offered a contract with the Frenchman in 2018 after he fell out with Mourinho, despite agent Mino Raiola calling for coaching. City’s coach is “a coward, a dog”.
Pogba, concerned about the potential reaction from United fans, decided to return to Juventus rather than move to City. But his second return in Turin turned into a nightmare from every angle, suffering two serious injuries, threats of blackmail, and then failing a drug test for high testosterone levels. City once again dodged a “bullet” from their perspective.
As Ronaldo’s time at Juventus came to a bitter end in the summer of 2021, he was considering his next step and City were one of the few clubs with the financial means to sign him. When rumors spread that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was in contact with City, key figures from United, especially Sir Alex Ferguson, began to panic.
“Really, the move to City is close. They talked a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried very hard to get me,” Ronaldo told Piers Morgan in a controversial interview in December 2019. 2022. “Sir Alex Ferguson is important. I spoke to him… He told me, ‘It’s impossible for you to go to Manchester City’. And I said ‘OK, Boss’.”
Ronaldo made an impressive start to his second return, scoring twice on his debut against Newcastle and saving in wins against Villarreal and Atalanta. But it’s clear that United are made worse by his presence, as he slows down the team’s movements and forces them to adapt the style of the past three years to accommodate him. Ronaldo finished the season as the team’s top scorer but United recorded their worst points in 30 years in the Premier League and his ability to create escapes gradually declined.
His self-centered attitude also had a negative impact on the team, and in his second season, he acted poorly, leaving the field during a friendly match against Rayo Vallecano in the middle of the match and refusing to play. came on as a substitute before the end of the match against Tottenham, resulting in a short suspension. His unauthorized conversation with Morgan made United feel even more embarrassed and had only one ending – termination of the contract.
Meanwhile, City won another title without a striker and then welcomed Erling Haaland, who guided them to the treble. Another bullet was dodged.
During his five-year spell at United, Fred always attracted attention for the wrong reasons. Not only is he a liability, but he also becomes a humorous character, evoking laughter rather than scorn because of his peculiar running style and apparent lack of ability.
Making the joke even funnier is the fact that opponents always remember that Fred landed for 50 million pounds ($60 million) in 2018. However, the Red Devils are not the only club willing to pay a price. high to land the midfielder, who was close to joining City in January 2018.
His agent, Fabio Mello, has revealed that he had arranged a deal with Guardiola’s side, but Shakhtar Donetsk blocked the transfer because they had advanced to the knockout stages of the Champions League and Fred was a important part of their hope to go further.
Mello said he and Shakhtar “delayed” a deal with City until the summer transfer window, and that was when United showed interest in him and finally completed the transfer. Fred joined Fenerbahce for £8m in the summer, a loss of over £40m for United without gaining many memories, especially good ones.
The Brazilian winger was United’s biggest transfer mistake of the Ten Hag era and is by far one of the biggest failures in the club’s history. He cost a whopping £85m ($103m), making him the second most expensive signing in United’s history, behind only Pogba. However, he does not have the reputation or brand value of his French team-mate, and it has become clear that United have overpaid for him.
Antony is at best a workhorse, only capable of cutting in from the right wing and firing left-footed shots into the far top corner. But even his ability to execute that s𝓀𝒾𝓁𝓁 was declining, and he had a terrible second season, with no goals or assists.
Additionally, he greatly damaged the club’s reputation after being accused of assault by three women in September, leading to him being separated from the team for three weeks. However, he could have become a problem for City rather than United.
According to The Telegraph, Antony attracted City’s attention in 2019 when he was just a mainstay in the Sao Paulo squad. He has been invited to join City permanently, but will first move to Sporting CP on loan. At the time, the winger was 19 years old and did not feel ready to move to Europe, so he waited another year before joining Ajax and working under Ten Hag.
Manchester United side tracked the Swede for some time before finally signing him for £30m ($36m) in the summer of 2017, having tried to sign him in previous January transfer window. Benfica had objected to the sale during the mid-term season, and it was reported that City hoped to snatch the sale later that year.
Lindelof actually joined Man United, which then seemed to be on the rise under Mourinho while Guardiola spent his first season failing to win any trophies with Man City. But since Lindelof came to Manchester, Man City has become the dominant team in this city and the Swedish midfielder has not really created much success for himself.
Sancho belongs in a quite different category from the rest because he joined Man City and spent two years at the club’s academy before moving to Borussia Dortmund. As he developed into one of the most exciting wingers in Europe while in Germany and his value skyrocketed, it seemed City had made a huge mistake in letting him go for just £8 million ($10 million). million).
However, now that Sancho’s career at United is in tatters due to conflicts with Ten Hag and two unsuccessful seasons, Man City have been proven right. The blue team knew about some of the negative aspects of Sancho’s personality that United were quick to spot, such as his problems with arriving on time and his habit of getting upset when things don’t go his way.
After being eliminated from Man City’s summer tour in 2017 and angry that teammate Phil Foden was selected, Sancho refused to participate in training with the youth team. The winger’s attitude has also been questioned by England, but United did not heed warnings and appear to have made another mistake, with the £74m ($90m) man in good standing. was released from the team in January with a landing price.
At least Varane played well
City have been interested in signing Varane in 2020 as they search for a new centre-back, although they may have been influenced by his two major errors against Real Madrid, which cost City a win in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16.
Instead, City signed Dias that summer, but according to reports, they remained interested in Varane the following year when he only had 12 months left on his contract with Madrid. In the end, however, United signed the French midfielder for £50m ($60m), and he has been a solid signing, although his time at Old Trafford was frequently interrupted by muscle injuries.
However, City have no regrets about missing out on him, thanks to the consistency of Dias and the success of Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake.
Bruno Fernandes still makes MU fans excited
One player United do not regret defeating their neighbors is Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder was strongly linked with Man City during the summer of 2019, with Fabrizio Romano saying sporting director Txiki Begiristain had discussed a deal with Sporting CP and offered to swap players for the team. Portuguese balls for sale.
Guardiola has denied that Man City were ever close to buying Fernandes and that the same summer they bought Rodri from Atletico Madrid. United showed interest in Fernandes that summer, but it was not until January of the following year that they met Sporting’s asking price.
Fernandes has proven himself to be United’s best signing of the past decade and has raised his game in derbies with City, including controversially scoring last season.
And in the past, MU once ‘stole’ Ryan Giggs from City
Although Man United probably regret many of the players they signed before Man City, perhaps it was all worth it for them to bring Ryan Giggs from the blue half of Manchester so many years ago.
Giggs, then known as Ryan Wilson, was building a reputation as the region’s best teenage player, but he was at Man City’s Training Center. “We always had a few scouts who claimed to have discovered Giggsy,” Ferguson recalls. “Perhaps they did, but they never acted on what they saw. In fact a security officer told me that it was unusual for a Manchester United fan like Giggs to be training at the street.” Streets other than City are a shame”.
Ferguson went to Giggs’ house on the player’s 14th 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐡day to sign for United when he was a schoolboy, and the Salford lad became the longest-serving player and was decorated with the badge. the club’s most famous, feared by the blue team and loved by MU fans