Tactical Insights

I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson over Man Utd move in Barcelona kit room – but I went elsewhere

Dutch legend Ronald de Boer has revealed how Louis van Gaal convinced him to reject a move to Manchester United.

The attacking midfielder was pivotal to the iconic Ajax side that won the 1995 Champions League and came agonisingly close to defending their European crown, with manager Van Gaal relying on a phenomenal crop of homegrown stars. De Boer played alongside his twin brother Frank for Ajax, but a contract fallout led the brothers to be reunited with the future United boss at Barcelona in 1999.

Despite his earlier success, De Boer endured a frustrating spell at the Nou Camp and United were one of the clubs to offer the midfielder a chance to reignite his career the following year. Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to convince the Dutchman to head for Old Trafford, but he surprisingly favoured a move to Scottish giants Rangers after taking advice from Van Gaal.

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“I remember being in the Barcelona kit room, speaking to Alex Ferguson on the phone,” De Boer told FourFourTwo. “He told me he was keen to sign me for United, and explained how he’d use me in midfield.

“But around the same time, Dick Advocaat approached me on behalf of Rangers. I remember being in the Dutch camp, talking about my future with Van Gaal, who had since become the head coach of the national team.

“I asked him what he thought. He said that at Rangers I’d always play, which would be better for me as a 30-year-old, and for my role in the Dutch team as well,” De Boer explained.

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