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“Ideally, it would have been Man United…” – Premier League icon recalls Sir Alex Ferguson meeting before Chelsea transfer



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Premier League icon Damien Duff has recalled his conversation with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson before his move to Chelsea in 2003.

Duff, 44, was an exciting young winger at Blackburn Rovers in the early 2000s and eventually made the move to Stamford Bridge as one of the first signings in the Roman Abramovich era.

However, before his move, there were rumours murmuring about a transfer to either Manchester United or Liverpool – something that Duff admits would’ve been a more ideal situation because of the Irish connections that both clubs have.

The wide player even travelled to meet United manager and legend Sir Alex Ferguson as the Reds came extremely close to a deal.

Duff, explaining the situation and his visit to meet the United boss, told the Open Goal podcast: “It nearly happened with both [United and Liverpool]. I’m not sure what my get out [clause] was with Blackburn, maybe £15million or £16million. I went for 17-point-something [million]. It was maybe too much for them.

“Chelsea was never on my radar. Ideally, it would have been Man United, Liverpool, great clubs with Irish connections. I met Alex Ferguson and spoke to him. When you spend time with him and talk to him about football, you want to play for him. I think I just cost too much, and they got better wingers than me in the end.

“I met him in the kitman’s house. I think Fergie did all his business in Albert’s house. Albert picked me up at the airport and brought me there. I didn’t say a word for two or three hours. I was still a baby, 21 or 22. I just stared at him.

“I was probably dribbling as well. Ma made me wear a shirt and tie, as Irish mothers do. I was suited and booted. I looked like a d**k, probably. That’s probably why he didn’t sign me. I was just dribbling, looking at him.”

Duff would go on to win two Premier League titles in his three-year stint with Chelsea before later joining Newcastle United and Fulham.