Former-Man United chief scout Javier Ribalta reveals he wanted to sign Emre Can and Leon Goretzka

Former-Man United chief scout Javier Ribalta reveals he wanted to sign Emre Can and Leon Goretzka

Former-Manchester United chief scout Javier Ribalta has revealed that he tried to get the club to sign Emre Can on a free transfer.

Can, who joined Juventus from Man United’s biggest rivals Liverpool in the summer, was available on a free transfer after his contract at Anfield ran out.


Ribalta has now left United to become Zenit St Petersburg’s Director of Football in Russia, but told Italian media that he wanted to bring both Can and Leon Goretzka, now of Bayern Munich, to the club.

Goretzka was another possible free transfer as his deal at Schalke 04 expired, but Bayern Munich pipped all other major European clubs to the German’s signature.

“I’d have liked to sign Emre Can and (Leon) Goretzka on free transfers,” Ribalta told Italian newspaper tuttosport.

Ribalta explained that Emre Can was “already being scouted while I was at Juve (2017).”

“We tried to sign him several times, then when I went to Man Utd I proposed him as one of the players to be signed. Emre Can is top signing for Juventus, one from an unending series.”

Can certainly would have been fantastic value for money for United, who were looking at midfielders in the summer transfer window.

Jose Mourinho eventually brought in Brazilian Fred for over £50 million from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk. Gortezka would have been even better value, given his young age.

The now-Bayern man has already made a good impression at the Allianz Arena and at just 23, could be one of the best signings for the German champions for many years.

Quite why Ribalta chose to leave United after just a year at the club is not yet known and has not been disclosed by him nor the club.

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About The Author

Founder of Academy Man Utd. Manchester United Editor at VAVEL UK. Host of the Manchester United Weekly Podcast. Youth football coach in North London.