CSKA Moscow midfielder Pavel Mamayev claims he was due to sign for Manchester United last summer until an issue with a work permit scuppered the deal, causing any potential move to collapse.
24-year-old Mamayev, a deep-lying, holding midfielder, has been linked with a host of clubs including Chelsea and Lazio but the Russian international says that United came close to sealing a deal for him this summer.
Speaking to the Russian media, Mamayev said: ‘I was in shock, it was such a dream transfer.
“The deal was around 80% complete but with my limited number of caps for Russia, I couldn’t get a work permit.”
Mamayev revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson had promised he would find a way of forcing through the deal. However, additional contact from Ferguson never materialised.
“Sir Alex Ferguson said he would try to solve it but the contact never came again”, he said.
The CSKA Moscow midfielder’s downfall was his lack of appearances for the Russian national team as he was only capped twice. In order to gain an EU work permit, a certain percentage of caps need to be gained in order to be eligible.
This has threatened to scupper many transfer deals in the past with Shinji Kagawa’s transfer over the summer at first hitting a snag as he wasn’t in Japan’s World Cup 2010 squad.
Mamayev was good for the Russian U21s, scoring four in 14 appearances but the player is said to feel the need to move in order to establish himself for the full squad. At the time he was tipped for bigger things but he hasn’t appeared for Russia since 2011 and his career has stagnated somewhat.
Mamayev is under contract until 2015 and would likely cost around £3.5 million, which is significantly cheaper than other rumoured transfer targets that United have set their sights on such as Kevin Strootman, Victor Wanyama and Hector Herrera.