Football News

“I couldn’t believe it” – How Man Utd missed out on beating Chelsea to Arjen Robben signing

By Steve Jennings

Published: 10:48, 27 March 2020

Arjen Robben could have joined Manchester United and even visited the club’s training ground before opting to sign for Chelsea, Rio Ferdinand has revealed.

Robben went on to make 105 appearances for Chelsea, winning two Premier League titles before a short stint at Real Madrid and a hugely successful spell with Bayern Munich.

How did Robben get on after snubbing Man Utd? Five things to know…

  • Robben won two Premier League titles at Chelsea and was named in the 2004/05 PFA Team of the Year.
  • He left Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid in 2007 but, despite winning La Liga, departed after just two seasons.
  • The 36-year-old won eight Bundesliga titles and the Champions League with Bayern Munich.
  • He scored 144 goals in 309 appearances for Bayern across all competitions.
  • Robben retired last year, bringing a trophy-laden playing career to an end on a high note.

The Dutchman was highly sought-after ahead of his move to Chelsea from PSV Eindhoven after emerging as one of the brightest young talents in the Netherlands.

And Ferdinand, who was playing for Manchester United the time, says Robben picked Stamford Bridge over Old Trafford, possibly because he “didn’t like the smell” of United’s Carrington training ground.

Asked to pick between Robben and Ryan Giggs in their prime during an Instagram Live Q&A, Ferdinand stayed loyal to his former teammate but admitted he would have loved to play with Robben at United.

“I’d have to say Gigsy you know. Robben, was nasty though,” Ferdinand said.

“What a player. Robben was great. We should have signed him at Man United.

“I think he came to the training ground. He walked around and didn’t like the smell and walked off and went to Chelsea. I couldn’t believe it man. He would have been great for us.”

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‘Giggs was unbelievable’

Robben spent his best years at Bayern on the right wing, cutting inside onto his lethal left foot and proving predictable yet unstoppable.

Meanwhile, Giggs spent most of his career on the left wing before moving into a more central role late in his playing days.

Ferdinand highlighted the Welshman’s ability to prolong his career by excelling in different roles and positions, adding: “But Giggsy was an unbelievable footballer. Left wing, into centre midfielder by the end of his career. Great footballer. Great, great footballer.”