Jesper Blomqvist playing for Manchester United.

Blomqvist: Sir Alex didn’t just pick any player

Thursday 26 March 2020 10:30

Jesper Blomqvist has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson’s persistence convinced him to join Manchester United.

The Swede was signed from Parma ahead of the famous 1998/99 season, yet, speaking earlier this year on the UTD Podcast, Jesper revealed he could have become a Red years prior to that.

Sir Alex had closely monitored the winger’s progress during his time in Italy and, for that reason, Blomqvist felt United were the club for him, even if it meant competing with Ryan Giggs for a place in the team.
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“[Carlo] Ancelotti got fired [at Parma] and they hired a new coach, and I wasn’t sure if he really wanted me,” the 46-year-old reflected. “This was during the summer break, and then Sir Alex came in again for me. 

“He doesn’t just pick a player, he was after me for four years. I felt he wasn’t just looking for a left-midfielder, he wanted me.

“I felt really strongly, even though I knew the competition from Giggsy would be really tough. But I knew he had been looking at me for four years, so I knew he wanted me, not just any left-footed midfielder.

“It was hard to leave Italy, but, in the end, it was the best decision I ever made!” he added.
During Jesper’s first season he played a vital role as the Reds won the Treble, with the no.15 playing 38 games in all competitions, including the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Blomqvist knows he could now own a much more extensive collection of winners’ medals had he moved to United earlier in his career. However, winning the Treble in his first campaign at Old Trafford is still a huge source of pride and, for that reason, he has no regrets about not joining earlier.

“No not really, not with the way it turned out,” Jesper responded when asked if he wishes he'd moved to United a few years before.
Jesper had plenty to say about how he joined the Reds.
“The way it turned out my first season was the Treble season! For me, even though I had some tough years in Italy, it made me a different person,” he added. 

“I know it may seem strange, but for me, coming to Manchester and having the experience coming from Italy, it validated me as a player. People weren’t asking me how I’d got on in Sweden, but in Italy.

“Even though I’d only been there for two years it gave me more credibility from the people at the club. It’s strange, but it’s the way it works in football.”


Alex Ferguson: "I tried to buy him from AC Milan a year ago, only to be told that he was going to Parma on loan. I had another go in December then another in March, but without any luck. I asked again at the end of the season but had to wait until this month before getting the go-ahead at last. Usually, folk get fed up when I keep going on at them and give in, but it took a bit longer with Jesper. It's worth it, though, because the lesson from last season was that we had to strengthen the squad."

Roger Gustafsson (former Gothenburg coach): "There's no player I've ever worked with who is more ambitious or willing to learn than Jesper. He is a good listener and he's a fighter too. It's a good move for United and Jesper. And that's why I believe he could turn out to be one of Alex Ferguson's best buys. His style is so much like Giggs and Alex remarked on that when we played United. He has everything that Giggs has - the ability to attack defenders and dribble very fast with the ball at his feet. And he has an excellent technique. Left-footed players like Jesper have a special quality and are wonderful to watch - and I'm sure he will want to prove he is still the player that destroyed United a few years ago."

Associated Press International: “Persistence paid for Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson on Wednesday when he finally got the signature of Swedish international Jesper Blomqvist after three failed attempts. Blomqvist signed a three-year deal with the Reds, completing a 4.4 million-pound move from Italian team Parma. The international winger had reportedly been reluctant to join the Premier League giants because he was concerned about his chances of securing a permanent place in the first team. Ferguson had made three failed attempts to lure the former IFK Goteborg and AC Milan star to the Reds, before agreeing a deal with his Serie A team Parma last week and finalising personal terms with Blomqvist on Tuesday.”

You can listen to the full Blomqvist episode of UTD Podcast now, on Deezer and all of your favourite podcast platforms.