Robert Lewandowski has revealed that he was in contact with Sir Alex Ferguson regarding a transfer to Manchester United 12 years ago.
Lewandowski, 34, recently experienced Old Trafford, but in Barcelona colours, during his side’s unsuccessful attempt to progress through to the Europa League round of 16.
The Poland international developed into an elite level forward at Borussia Dortmund under the tutelage of now-Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp before moving to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich, where he cemented his status as one of the greatest strikers in the world.
He scored 103 and 344 goals for Dortmund and Bayern, respectively, leaving German football last summer after Barcelona secured a €50million deal for Lewandowski’s services.
Before moving to Dortmund – where he won consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2010/11 and 2011/12 – Lewandowski was close to joining Blackburn Rovers, but volcanic eruptions in Iceland caused air travel cancellations and thereby squashed Sam Allardyce’s hopes of the transfer.
Speaking to Sport Bild, Lewandowski revealed that he was called by the great Sir Alex Ferguson in an attempt to lure him away from Dortmund:
“I remember the moment exactly. We had a friendly with Dortmund in preparation, I think against Bochum. I was subbed at half-time.
“I looked at my mobile phone in the dressing room. There was a text message with the sender +44. Ferguson had tried to call me and then sent me a message. He wanted to talk to me.
“I was still in the dressing room, I took a shower and called him back, in a quiet corner. My English wasn’t as good as it is today. He has a strong Scottish accent. I was so focused on understanding what he meant! Alex Ferguson tried to be considerate, spoke slowly.
“I was 22 years old, it was a special moment. I spoke to Aki Watzke (Dortmund CEO) and Jürgen Klopp in the camp. I wanted to go to Man United! But they said: ‘No chance, Robert. We need you. You have to stay.’”
18 months after this phone call, Laurie Whitwell reported that Lewandowski was on the verge of agreeing a €5m yearly salary with United ahead of a January 2013 transfer.
Bild also alleged at the time that United had agreed an approximate €20m package with Dortmund.
The move, evidently and unfortunately, failed to materialise.