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Rio Ferdinand reveals Thiago Alcantara phoned him to arrange transfer to Manchester United transfer

Rio Ferdinand has revealed he was phoned by Thiago Alcantara in 2013 in the hope that he could arrange a move to Manchester United for him.

The Spain midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford eight years ago, particularly after a man-of-the-match display against Italy in the final of the U21 Euros.

That speculation then became even more intense when someone – believed to be United and Spain goalkeeper David de Gea – wrote ‘See you in Manchester’ on Thiago’s match ball after he scored a hat-trick in that game in Jerusalem.

Rio Ferdinand (left) has revealed Thiago Alcantara (right) phoned him in 2013 to try and help arrange a transfer from Barcelona to Manchester United

The Spain midfielder had delivered a man-of-the-match display in the final of the U21 Euros

United were looking to add fresh blood to an ageing squad that had just won the league for a record 20th time in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final campaign in charge of the club.

Ferdinand admitted Thiago had already caught the eye in United’s 2-1 pre-season friendly win against Barcelona in Maryland in July 2011, in which the Spain midfielder scored.  

Two years later de Gea played the middle man by giving his compatriot Ferdinand’s number to speak about a move, but the former England defender claims the United hierarchy consisting of new boss David Moyes and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward decided against signing the Barcelona star.

Ferdinand and United meanwhile had just one a record 20th league title for the Red Devils

‘Before Thiago left Barcelona, he called me,’ six-time Premier League winner Ferdinand told his YouTube show Vibe with FIVE.

‘We played against Barcelona in the States on tour, and he was unreal. He was playing as the 10, and he scored a worldie.

‘So we knew about him anyway, and a few years later, Moyes was manager.

‘I don’t speak to Thiago, I don’t know him, but David De Gea gave him my number,’ the 42-year-old continued.

‘He rang me, and he said: ”Rio, I would love to come to Man Utd. Is there anybody I can speak to or that you can speak to for me just to see the interest?”

Thiago (right) caught the eye in a pre-season friendly against United in 2011, and two years later David de Gea (left) gave him Ferdinand’s number

‘So I spoke to the people at the club, Moyes and Woodward. I mentioned it.’

Ferdinand then said he was told by the duo: ‘No, we’re already down the line with a couple of other signings. It’s fine.’

United were not the only team interested in the then 23-year-old, with a reunion with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola on the cards at Bayern Munich.

And Ferdinand claims Thiago – who revealed in 2018 he left Barcelona in search of regular football – was given just a day by the Bundesliga giants to decide his next move, which ended up seeing him move to the Allianz Arena. 

But Ferdinand claims new boss David Moyes (right) and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward (left) decided against the move

Thiago ended up linking up with his former boss, Pep Guardiola, at Bayern Munich

‘He was given 24 hours, Thiago, to make a decision,’ Ferdinand added.

‘He ended up ringing me up next morning again, saying ”I’ve slept on it, can you let me know about Man Utd, what’s going on?”

‘He said again, ”I’ve got 24 hours to make a decision, otherwise Pep won’t take me to Bayern Munich”. He joined Bayern Munich and the rest is history.’ 

Thiago would go on to make 235 appearances for the German giants and win seven Bundesliga titles and a Champions League crown prior to his move to United’s arch rivals Liverpool last summer. 

United’s business in 2013 however turned out to be disaster, only managing to sign Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, a deal which eventually went through on deadline day.

Thiago would go on to win seven Bundesliga titles and a Champions League crown with Bayern

The Red Devils meanwhile failed in their pursuit of Thiago, his compatriot and fellow Barcelona team-mate Cesc Fabregas and Gareth Bale prior to his £86million move to Real Madrid later that summer.

They also struggled to bring in a left-back, with Everton refusing to sell Leighton Baines, while Real Madrid blocked a move for Fabio Coentrao at the last moment.

The attempt to sign Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera was also turned into a farce, as reports in Spain revealed that United made a last-gasp £34million bid for Sami Khedira, while Sportsmail understood that United twice turned down the opportunity to sign Mesut Ozil, who would end up at Arsenal. 

United’s business in 2013 was a disaster, only managing to sign Everton’s  Marouane Fellaini

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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