Ashley Young has revealed that, prior to signing for Manchester United in 2011, he snubbed the advances of Manchester City and ignored an approach from Liverpool.
The England international had become a much sought-after asset on the back of productive spells at Watford and Aston Villa.
Leading clubs across the Premier League were eager to secure his services, with a £17 million ($22m) deal eventually taking him to Old Trafford.
Article continues below
- Barcelona to get a glimpse of their bleak Messi-less future
- Kroenke, Wenger & wasted millions – Why Arsenal are in total disarray
- Man Utd's rampant front four expose Man City's problems – Tactical lessons from the Premier League weekend
- Kovac eyes Arsenal job as Gunners step up search for Emery replacement
Young has gone on to spend eight years with the Red Devils, taking in over 250 appearances while savouring Premier League title, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League triumphs.
He could, however, have ended up on the books of an arch-rival, with admiring glances from other north west heavyweights knocked back.
Young told United’s official podcast: “I spoke to the [Aston Villa] chairman Randy Lerner, at the time, and he was desperate for me not to leave.
“I wanted to leave in 2010. We’d spoken when I first came and [the goal] was to break into the top four. We weren’t able to do it and we were like it’s not happening, things were starting to tail off.
“Randy had been there for me from the start and I felt I did owe him, so I stayed for the extra year.”
Young added on how things progressed from there: “My agent called me and said: ‘Listen, you’re going into the last year of your contract, there are a few teams that are in for you’.
“He said Liverpool. We’d already spoken to [Manchester] City. Then he said United had come in. And I said: ‘When am I meeting Sir Alex? Where’s the pen?’ There was no other place I wanted to go.
“The history of the club, the players that were here, what they’d achieved. For me, that was the place I wanted to be.
“I wanted to go there and put my marker down on this club and play for the biggest club, for me, in the world. As soon as my agent said that… we didn’t even meet Liverpool!”
Young got his meeting with Ferguson and discussions with the legendary United boss helped to further convince him that Old Trafford was the only place to be.
The 34-year-old said: “I always remember the meeting with Sir Alex in London. I think it was probably a two-hour meeting. Ten minutes of that, we spoke about football, the rest was about horses and wine! It was one of them where the boss has just got that aura.
“He challenged me and said you either sink or swim. That’s basically what it is, you’re going to be challenged every day. And that’s what I wanted.
“Ultimately, it was down to me to make the decision and as soon as I could sign here, I wanted to sign.”