Thursday, April 18News That Matters

Ferdinand reveals conversation with Modric over joining Man Utd

Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he nearly convinced Luka Modric to join Manchester United instead of Real Madrid, but the club’s hierarchy had already agreed a deal with another player.

The Croatian superstar left Tottenham for the Bernabeu just over a decade ago, in the summer of 2012, and went on to have an incredible career that included five Champions League titles and the Ballon d’Or.

But things could have been different, with Modric having been keen to stay in the Premier League – though Spurs always preferred to sell him abroad.

Now former United defender Ferdinand has revealed that he tried to entice the midfielder to Old Trafford but the deal failed to materialise after Sir Alex Ferguson decided to sign Shinji Kagawa from Dortmund instead.

Talking about Modric on his FIVE YouTube show, Ferdinand said: ‘I spoke to him before he went to Real Madrid, because that’s what I used to do, I was the player agent, I was agent Rio before I retired.

‘Any player that was available or was coming up I used to think that I could somehow get into them.

‘Even Thiago Alcantara at Liverpool, I spoke to him before he left Barcelona to go to Bayern Munich and that almost happened but we signed [Marouane] Fellaini instead.

‘But Modric, I remember speaking to him, I said, “Are you leaving [Tottenham]?” and he said, “Yeah, I think I’m going to go” but he wasn’t sure at the time where he was going.

‘I said, “Listen, you’ve got to come to United, man” and he said, “Yeah, listen, I want to be the first Croatian to play for Man United, I want to be that guy, can we make it happen?”

‘But it didn’t happen. I spoke to David Gill and the manager [Sir Alex] at the time had already agreed with Shinji Kagawa I think it was – I think that was the year, I’m sure it was.

‘Or they already had irons in the fire with another player and they did that deal and then Modric went to Madrid and the rest is history. ‘But I never imaged he’d go on to do what he’s done. What a player!’

A £17m deal for Kagawa to join the Red Devils was negotiated at the backend of the 2011-12 campaign and the transfer was announced at the start of June.

Modric had to wait until the end of August to secure his £30m move to Real Madrid and while he enjoyed huge success at his new club, Kagawa only lasted two years at United – netting just six goals – before returning to Borussia Dortmund.

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