Rio Ferdinand reveals Manchester United nearly signed Luka Modric but bought £17m flop instead
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 17, 2022 - 09:51AM
The midfielder ‘wanted to be the first Croatian to play for United’ (Pictures: FIVE / Getty)

has revealed that he very nearly convinced Luka Modric to join instead of , but the Red Devils’ hierarchy had already agreed a deal with another player.

The Croatian superstar left Tottenham for the Bernabeu just over a decade ago, in the summer of 2012, and went on to have a glittering career that included five titles and the Ballon d’Or.

But things could have been very different, with Modric having been keen to remain in the Premier League – though Spurs always preferred to sell him abroad.

Now former United defender Ferdinand has revealed that he tried to entice the midfield maestro to Old Trafford but the deal failed to materialise after Sir Alex Ferguson decided to sign Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund instead.

Talking about Modric , Ferdinand said: ‘I spoke to him before he went to Real Madrid, because that’s what I used to do, I was the player agent, I was agent Rio before I retired.

‘Any player that was available or was coming up I used to think that I could somehow get into them.

‘Even Thiago Alcantara at Liverpool, I spoke to him before he left Barcelona to go to Bayern Munich and that almost happened but we signed [Marouane] Fellaini instead.

Ferdinand says Modric was keen to move to Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

‘But Modric, I remember speaking to him, I said, “Are you leaving [Tottenham]?” and he said, “Yeah, I think I’m going to go” but he wasn’t sure at the time where he was going.

‘I said, “Listen, you’ve got to come to United, man” and he said, “Yeah, listen, I want to be the first Croatian to play for Man United, I want to be that guy, can we make it happen?”

‘But it didn’t happen. I spoke to David Gill and the manager [Sir Alex] at the time had already agreed with Shinji Kagawa I think it was – I think that was the year, I’m sure it was.

‘Or they already had irons in the fire with another player and they did that deal and then Modric went to Madrid and the rest is history.

‘But I never imaged he’d go on to do what he’s done. What a player!’

A £17million deal for Kagawa to join United was negotiated at the backend of the 2011-12 season and the transfer was announced at the start of June.

Modric had to wait until the end of August to secure his £30m move to Real Madrid and while the Croatian enjoyed huge success at his new club, Kagawa only lasted two seasons at United – netting just six times – before returning to Borussia Dortmund.


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