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‘I travelled to Manchester’: 17-year-old was ready to sign for United until Zoom call U-turn

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Manchester United did not sign a single player in January, even missing out on a top quality youth target.

A lack of funds in the January transfer window saw Manchester United follow the trend of many Premier League clubs, wary of breaking Financial Fair Play rules.

There was one young player who the club was linked with making a move for – only to see him choose to sign for Bournemouth instead.

Now, young prospect Callan McKenna, 17, has revealed exactly how close he was to signing for the Red Devils, his head turned by a call from Bournemouth.

  • READ MORE: Manchester United transfer history 2013 to present day

Callan McKenna of Bournemouth during U21s Professional Development League match between AFC Bournemouth and Sheffield United at Vitality Stadium on...

Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

Callan McKenna explains Manchester United snub

Teenager Callan McKenna, joined top-flight surprise packages AFC Bournemouth from Queens Park a few months ago, and will be hoping to force his way into Andoni Iraola’s first-team plans in the near future.

McKenna has already made Iraola’s matchday squad on three occasions. And, speaking to the Dorset Echo, the talented young goalkeeper explains how a ’15 minute Zoom call’ with Bournemouth director Simon Francis and head of goalkeeping Neil Moss convinced him to snub Man United in favour of The Cherries.

“I travelled to Manchester and met the people from Manchester United the day before deadline day,” explains McKenna, who eventually joined Bournemouth on February 1st.

“That night, I had the Zoom call [with Bournemouth] and was invested in coming here. The following morning, the guys from United came to take me to the training ground and I told them it wasn’t what I wanted.

“They tried their best to persuade me. But I wanted to come here.”

McKenna, capped by Scotland at Under 18 level, could reportedly set Bournemouth back a fee in the region of £1 million with add-ons and bonuses included.

According to the Scottish Sun, Man United were left ‘stunned’ when McKenna turned down their offer in the winter, opting for a Bournemouth side who have taken four points off Erik ten Hag‘s side in 2023/24.

  • READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano names the four positions he’s convinced Man Utd will sign players this summer

‘A special goalkeeper’

“I think initially, you’ve only got to look at his size,” Glen Johnson (not that one) tells Goalkeeper.com, having coached McKenna at Queens’ Park. “He’s a decent size for his age, so that’s a great start. Then when I started getting the tactical aspects in and he picked it up really quickly so you are thinking; ‘You are ticking a lot of boxes early doors here’.

“Working with him, building those foundations in, you start to see the personality of a goalkeeper come through, and it was apparent we had a special goalkeeper on our hands. He was training with the first team and he didn’t look out of place.

“I’ve had goalkeepers previously that I’ve worked with that have stepped up from youth team football into the first team environment. As we know, it’s an unforgiving environment, it’s sink or swim sometimes.

“With Cal though, every question that was asked of him, he just dealt with it.”

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