Stam explains real reason Man Utd sold him to Lazio

Joe Williams

Jaap Stam thinks the controversy surrounding his book Head-to-Head gave Manchester United a convenient excuse to sell him.

The Dutchman won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup and Champions League at Old Trafford in his three-year stint under Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, in 2001 United chose to sell Stam to Lazio after tabloid controversy surrounding his book with Sir Alex Ferguson becoming embroiled in ‘tapping up’ allegations.

“At the time they [United] used it,” Stam told the Sky Sports Transfer Talk podcast. “It was hard from out of the blue to say ‘okay we’re going to sell Jaap’ without any reason.

“It was quite convenient maybe that the book was there at that time. I think it is better to just be straightforward in how it is.”

Stam had only recently signed a new deal at United and didn’t think the club would sell him as he had become part of the furniture.

“We kept on winning, we knew teams were getting afraid of us,” says Stam. “You have the feeling that you’re becoming unbeatable.

“You don’t think about leaving, basically.”

With big outlays on new signings such as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron, United looked to balance the books.

“I was completely shocked as to how it was put in the papers, because it was not how it was in the book,” Stam added.

“Fergie was very open, we just had a conversation and he expressed his feelings about me as a player basically.

“He told me not to worry about it, that he’d had the same with his own book.”

Stam continued: “Everyone at United knew how I was as a person, how I am as a person.

“I was never going to be on the bench for half a season and wait and wait for my opportunity again.

“I would have played eventually, I know that. But at the time, how everything went, the relationship was not how it was and I made my decision to move on.”