Rio Ferdinand says he would have loved Arjen Robben to have signed for Manchester United.

The Dutch winger earned legendary status for his time in European football where he impressed at Chelsea before enjoying the best years of his career at Bayern Munich.

After bursting onto the scene at PSV Eindhoven the winger was in high demand heading into the 2004 summer transfer window with both United and Chelsea keen to sign him.

Sir Alex Ferguson met with Robben in London and invited the youngster to the club’s Carrington training ground, however the clubs could not agree on a fee for him.

Chelsea eventually signed Robben and Ferdinand admits he would have loved to have played with him at Old Trafford. When asked to compare Ryan Giggs with the Dutch great Ferdinand backed his former United teammate, but revealed how close he came to making his dream come true.

“I’d have to go for Giggsy, you know,” Ferdinand said on Instagram.

“Robben was nasty though, ooh Robben, you knew he was going to come back in on his left foot but the left-back couldn’t deal with it.

“He was saying ‘I’m going to come in on my left, you’re not going to stop me’ – and they didn’t. What a player, Robben was great.

“We should have signed him at United. I think he came to the training ground, he walked around and didn’t like the smell and walked off and went Chelsea.

“Couldn’t believe it man. He would have been great for us.

“But Giggsy was an unbelievable footballer, left wing, into centre midfield by the end of his career.”