Sir Alex Ferguson was desperate to sign now-Chelsea player Ethan Ampadu before the Scot retired as Manchester United manager in 2013.
Ampadu, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday, made his Wales debut last year and his competitive bow for his country last week under former-Red Ryan Giggs´stewardship as they thrashed the Republic of Ireland 4-1 in the UEFA Nations League.
Ferguson, it turns out, wanted to bring Ampadu to Man United when he was just 12 years old.
The Manchester Evening News report that Ferguson saw the midfielder playing for Exeter under-13s against United in 2013 in a junior tournament. Impressed by his performances, he asked the clubs Chief Executive David Gill to sign Ampadu, having la described him as a ‘proper United player’.
Ampadu has been compared to Rio Ferdinand when playing in central defence, but is now a midfielder. At that tournament in 2013, he played as a central defender, central midfielder and central striker.
With Ferguson retiring in that summer of 2013, and Gill leaving his role at United to pursue a career elsewhere in football, signing Ampadu was not the priority for the club and a deal never materialised.
It´s another example of what could have been had Fergie stayed even for one or two more seasons as manager. Former first team coach, Rene Meulensteen, revealed recently that United wanted to bring in both Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus when the pair were at Borussia Dortmund, and would have made efforts to do so had Ferguson remained in charge that summer.
Gundogan now plays for Manchester City, United’s local rials, and is a key part in their title-winning team.