Michael Owen has revealed Manchester United attempted to sign Karim Benzema before bringing him to the club.
The Englishman joined Man United near the end of his career after a string of injuries saw his worth significantly decrease. However, he provided one of the most magical moments in Manchester derby history with a 97th-minute winner in a 4-3 victory.
Yet that could never have been had Sir Alex Ferguson got his wish, which was to sign Karim Benzema. Unfortunately for Ferguson, and for the Reds in the long-term, Benzema elected to sign for Real Madrid.
“I’ve got a lot to thank him [Benzema] for, he may not know,” Owen revealed.
“I wouldn’t have gone to United if it wasn’t for Benzema.
“I think Man United wanted to buy Benzema, and he chose Real Madrid.
“I was told by Sir Alex Ferguson that ‘we want Benzema but if Benzema doesn’t come then you’re coming’.
“So I was pleading with Benzema to go to Real Madrid, so thank you to him.”
Owen did provide one fantastic moment, but there’s little doubt that Benzema would have had a far greater long-term influence on the club. The Frenchman, though he has been consistently overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo and then Gareth Bale, has been one of Europe’s most prolific and consistent strikers for the last decade.
He’s won everything at Real Madrid, and been a key part of the side throughout his time at the Santiago Bernabeu. Perhaps his arrival could have helped United even to have even greater success in a period in which the Reds reached three UEFA Champions League finals in four years, but only one the competition once.