Roma coach Rudi Garcia has confirmed that Manchester United approached the club about Daniele De Rossi this summer but admitted they were simply too late.
De Rossi has spent his whole playing career at Roma but after a poor season with his boyhood club, the midfielder was open to the idea of moving elsewhere.
This season, the 30-year-old has been integral to Roma’s early successes and they are top of Serie A with six wins out of six having scored 17 goals with only one conceded.
“The first league match came and a few days after Manchester United called the club, called him, but the date had passed and he didn’t move.”
And speaking to L’Equipe, Garcia admitted he was delighted with his early season form.
“The Daniele who’s been playing with us since the start of the season is one of the best midfielders in Europe”, he said.
“People have said to me that he was no longer the same player (as last season).
“This summer we discussed his future. He’s Roman, he’s from here, but there were big clubs after him and he was waiting to see. I said to him that I couldn’t lose him at the last minute so we fixed a date after which he would not move.
“And that’s exactly what happened. The first league match came and a few days after Manchester United called the club, called him, but the date had passed and he didn’t move.”
De Rossi would have ticked the boxes for many United fans given his tough tackling, no nonsense approach that he combines so well with a fantastic passing game as well as goals. In many respects, he is a complete midfielder.
The 30-year-old is two years younger than Michael Carrick so age wouldn’t have been an issue and he admitted that this summer was the first time he entertained the thought of leaving Italy.
Speaking at a press conference, De Rossi said: “This year, when I spoke to the coach, when I spoke to the club, it was the first time I told them that I would have liked to listen to any offers while in previous years, I had always turned down any approach before even listening to it.
“This year, I felt it could be the right year to change because things did not go so well.
“There were lots of things which did not go well, but maybe there was one thing even greater which was not on for me: I could not contemplate my last game in a Roma shirt being that derby. That is the one thing I could not stomach. I could imagine myself in any other club in the world, lifting any trophy, but to think that my last game in a Roma shirt was a derby defeat in the Coppa Italia final… that would have been wrong.”
United’s moves for Sami Khedira, Ander Herrera and Fabio Coentrao collapsed due to their last minute nature and it seems that if David Moyes moved a bit faster for De Rossi, he could have moved to Old Trafford this summer.
Credit to ESPN FC for sourcing the interviews.