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Manchester City star Jack Grealish has revealed that he almost signed for their local rivals, Manchester United, one year prior to his lucrative summer move. Although the England international is yet to reach his full potential at the Etihad, the Premier League landscape may have looked much different if he had opted for Old Trafford instead.
As it turned out, Grealish signed a new contract with Aston Villa in 2020 which would allow him to leave should a club cough up £100million.
In the summer of 2021, City did exactly that, and Grealish seemed in little doubt about heading north to work under Pep Guardiola.
But by his own admission to the Daily Telegraph, a move to United the year prior was ‘really close’ to being completed.
Having watched the talented midfielder slip through the net, Express Sport looks at three more transfer regrets suffered by the Red Devils in recent years:
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Jack Grealish almost joined Man Utd one year prior to his Man City transfer (Image: GETTY)
Gareth BaleUnited failed with moves for the flying Welshman not once, but twice.
Tottenham pipped them to the signing in 2007 when Bale was still a teenager with Southampton, and a shift from left-back to winger turned his slow start into a Premier League rampage.
Having just netted 21 league goals from the wing, United reportedly attempted to hijack Bale’s move to Real Madrid in 2013, but the player had his heart set on Spain.
The notion of his subsequent success or failure divides opinion, but his impressive goal-scoring record and glistening trophy cabinet from his time with Los Blancos tells its own story.
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Toni KroosSticking with the Madrid-based theme, one-time United boss David Moyes was reportedly planning a swoop for Kroos before his second summer transfer window.
Although the deal appeared to be close, Moyes was sacked before he got the opportunity and the deal fell flat.
“David Moyes had come to see me and the contract had basically been done but then Moyes was fired and Louis van Gaal came in, which complicated matters,” Kroos told The Athletic.
“Louis wanted time to build his own project. I didn’t hear anything from United for a while and started having doubts. Then the World Cup started and Carlo Ancelotti called. And that was it.”
Toni Kroos claimed that David Moyes came close to signing him for Man Utd (Image: GETTY)
Sadio ManeA near-miss to make United fans wince involves Sadio Mane, who has gone on to star for bitter rivals Liverpool since 2016.
Under Louis van Gaal, the Red Devils had two bids rejected for the pacey winger who was then pulling up trees for Southampton.
In a crushing blow, Mane described the approach years later as coming from ‘the wrong team’, resulting in his decision to stay on the south coast.
No matter Red Devils fans’ feelings about Mane these days, his Premier League record is undeniable, and his link-up with coach Jurgen Klopp has turned out to be a match made in heaven.