Robben: Why I joined Chelsea instead of Manchester United

Date published: Wednesday 25th July 2018 9:42 - Matthew Stead

Arjen Robben would have joined Manchester United instead of Chelsea in 2004, but received no offer despite meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Robben was one of Europe’s most sought-after players after impressing in the Eredivisie, with PSV fielding offers from numerous clubs.

Among them was United, who agreed a £10m deal to sign the winger in principle in early 2004.

But later that year it transpired that United had offered just £4.8m, with PSV chairman Harry van Raaij mocking such a derisory bid.

“For that money they can get a shirt from Robben with his signature on it, nothing more,” he said at the time.

Robben has “no regrets” over United’s failure to sign him, even though he had actually met with Ferguson to discuss a move.

“I had a very good conversation with him over dinner in Manchester and we spoke about football and life,” he told FourFourTwo.

“I also went and had a good look around the training ground and everything was good, but after I went back to PSV nothing happened. There was no real contact and the deal didn’t happen.

“PSV were also negotiating with Chelsea at that time, so maybe they offered PSV more money? I don’t really know.

“I spoke to Chelsea and I liked their plans. We had one meeting and everything was done pretty quickly.

“Had Manchester United offered me a deal straight after I met them, I would have signed there, but it didn’t happen and I’ve got no regrets.”


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