Seven footballers who joined Christian Eriksen in snubbing a move to Manchester United


Manchester United have often found themselves at the top of the food chain in European football.

The Red Devils enjoyed bucketloads of success under Sir Alex Ferguson, and alongside that were usually able to cherry-pick the cream of world talent.

But while the opportunity to play for United was the dream for so many, very occasionally a world-class star would slam the door shut in their face and opt for a move elsewhere.

Christian Eriksen did just that this summer, with the former Tottenham man snubbing a contract offer from the Red Devils despite his spell at Brentford coming to an end.

It’s much easier to do that since United’s decline, of course. But here are seven other stars who turned down a move to Old Trafford – and not all of them when the club were in the doldrums.

Darwin Nunez

Darwin Nunez Benfica Sep21

You only have to go back a few weeks to find another Manchester United target that rejected their approach.

Benfica striker Darwin Nunez had a host of clubs fighting for his signature this summer, but the two sides leading the race were historic rivals Liverpool and Manchester United.

Both United and Liverpool were willing to meet the £ 85million fee requested by Benfica, and the Red Devils even offered the 22-year-old a higher wage in the contract offer.

But money was not enough to lure the Uruguayan to Old Trafford. Nunez opted to join Jurgen Klopp’s side, with their Champions League qualification a huge factor in his decision.

Gareth Bale

gareth bale real madrid

During his Tottenham years, Gareth Bale found his way into every scout’s notebook across Europe.

He developed from an average left-back to a fearsome winger in north London, and Real Madrid and Manchester United soon locked horns over his signature.

The Premier League club weren’t keen on selling to a domestic rival, but Manchester United were eager to make Gareth Bale the face of David Moyes’ tenure at Old Trafford – we all know how that ended.

Eventually, Real Madrid’s world record offer of £ 85.1million saw Bale become a Galactico, and it seems he made the right choice – the Welshman went on to win five Champions League titles in Spain, while United have gone through the same amount of managers in that time.

Bale does find himself out of contract this summer, but the 32-year-old is not quite the same prospect as he was back in 2013. It looks more likely he’ll end up in Cardiff than Manchester.

Eden Hazard


Another promising European talent that turned down Manchester United during his peak was Eden Hazard, who opted for a move to Chelsea after impressing in France.

Back in 2012, Hazard caught the eye after helping Lille to a league title in 2010/11. In particular, the talented Belgian drew a lot of attention from Premier League sides.

It ended as a two-horse race between Chelsea and Manchester United, and Hazard has revealed that a conversation with Didier Drogba convinced him to move to London.

Chelsea were fresh from their Champions League triumph, and were cementing their status as a powerhouse in European football.

We’ll never know what would have happened had Hazard joined United, but he earned himself two Premier League titles with the Blues before making a big-money move to Real Madrid in 2019.

Patrick Kluivert

After dazzling in the ’98 World Cup for the Netherlands, Patrick Kluivert found himself in the center of a bidding war between Manchester United and Barcelona.


Sir Alex Ferguson was facing pressure from a rejuvenated Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, and believed Kluivert could help him reassert dominance in the Premier League.

But Spanish giants Barcelona were also experiencing a golden age, with Johann Cruyff in the hot seat at Camp Nou. Keen to work under his legendary compatriot, Kluivert snubbed United in favor of Barca.

After missing out on his target, Ferguson revealed in his autobiography that he believed Kluivert would be “the bigger loser” from the deal. The Red Devils went on to win the historic treble the very next season, so he may have had a point.


United came within touching distance of signing Ronaldinho, only for an election to stand in their way.

The Brazilian legend himself stated that he “was on the brink of joining Manchester United” back in 2003.

Ronaldinho’s two years at Paris Saint-Germain made it abundantly clear that he was destined to be world class, and Barcelona immediately highlighted him as a transfer target. United had too, with Ferguson a big admirer.

The Red Devils inched closer to sealing the move, but in a dramatic saga of twists and turns, Ronaldinho instead chose Barcelona. It followed a call from a friend on the Spanish side’s board, who revealed he was set to be appointed vice-president if Joan Laporta won the club’s presidential election.

“Everything happened very quickly. A good friend of mine who was running to be on the Barcelona board, Sandro Rosell, had asked me if I’d play for Barcelona when they won the election and I told him that I would,” said Ronaldinho .

“I was on the brink of joining Manchester United, there were just a few details to iron out, but Rosell called me at the last minute to tell me that they were going to win the election.”

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne - Gazza dentist chair celebration

England icon Paul Gascoigne was at the peak of his powers in 1988 and was ready to take a step up from boyhood club Newcastle United.

Despite his off-field issues, Gascoigne’s talent was undeniable, and Ferguson made him a priority for the Red Devils.

But ‘Gazza’ ended up opting for a move to Tottenham instead, and he later explained his reasoning.

“There was the Gaffer [Bryan Robson] and Neil Webb, always together for England. “I’m thinking – and I probably shouldn’t say this, because Sir Alex Ferguson is probably watching – but I thought: I’m never going to get a game here.”

Doubts over his playing time stopped Gascoigne from completing the move, and Ferguson missed out on his dream signing.

Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer Chris Sutton Blackburn title May95

Perhaps the highest-profile rejection Manchester United suffered was Alan Shearer, who turned down a move to Old Trafford not once, but twice.

After starting his career at Southampton, Shearer chose Blackburn over United and ended up winning the Premier League. He scored 112 goals in 138 appearances for Rovers before deciding on a move away in 1996.

Manchester United were once again interested in Shearer, but so too were his boyhood club, Newcastle United.

Despite the Red Devils offering a world record £ 25million offer, Shearer was certain that he wanted to “come home” to the Magpies, and the rest was history.

He was never able to lift the league title with Newcastle, something that would have been a guarantee at United. But he can point to being the Premier League’s top goalscorer of all time with 260 goals, all while becoming a cult hero on Tyneside.

READ MORE: Leeds’ hopes of hanging on to Raphinha fade as odds slashed on Arsenal move


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.