Legendary Swedish striker Henrik Larsson has revealed that Manchester United were interested in signing him before he rose to success with Celtic and Barcelona.
Larsson joined Celtic in 1997 from Feyenoord, and enjoyed a brilliant second season in Glasgow, scoring 38 goals in all competitions.
This appeared to peak the interest of Sir Alex Ferguson, who is thought to have been keen on signing the then-Sweden international.
Larsson has confirmed that was indeed the case, claiming the Scot had been watching him personally and that he even received a phone call from an unnamed player, but admits he opted not to move south of the border as he had finally found his feet at Parkhead.
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“I know there was interest from Manchester United,” Larsson told Sky Sports News’ Transfer Talk podcast.
“I heard about it because Marc Rieper was centre-half at Celtic and got a phone call from a United player. I don’t know who.
“I know that Sir Alex had been up watching. But I was happy at the time.
“I’d started feeling at home, I scored goals, we had a good team. I felt that now is not the time.”
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Larsson did eventually join United in 2006 on a three month long loan deal, but only managed to score once in seven Premier League games, also netting twice in the Champions League.
Despite not setting Old Trafford alight, United tried to extend his deal further, but despite praise from Ferguson, Larsson says he felt obliged to return to his home club Helsingborg.
“I remember having a talk, some of the players were involved too," he said.
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“I said I really appreciate it but I can’t do it. I promised Helsingborg and they invested a lot of money for a small club from Sweden to bring me home.
“I felt obligated to do what I put pen to paper. I promised them I would come back home.
“”Even though United is so much bigger I felt that I couldn’t break my promise.”
- Champions League
- Premier League
- Sir Alex Ferguson
- Manchester United FC
- Celtic FC
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