Sir Alex Ferguson.

Sir Alex sets Sneijder record straight

Monday 27 September 2021 14:00

When Manchester United signings who got away are mentioned, Wesley Sneijder's name nearly always crops up.

Yet Sir Alex Ferguson has stressed the Netherlands midfielder was never genuinely an option to join the Reds, despite intense speculation over a lengthy period.

While at Inter Milan, the former Ajax and Real Madrid man was strongly linked with a move to United, particularly after Jose Mourinho left the Nerazzurri.

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Sir Bobby could have been Gazza's mentor

Sir Alex Ferguson recounts the story of how he missed out on signing Paul Gascoigne...

"Well, you mention the boy Sneijder," Sir Alex told Sam Homewood during the exclusive UTD Podcast blockbuster episode which is released to registered users on the Official App later today (Monday, 17:00 BST).

“That's come up a lot of times but we were never interested in Sneijder. I don't know where that came from but you get a lot of them. Every Sunday, in The People, when I first came, they were throwing names in all the time, you know."

The missed signing that Sir Alex rues the most is still that of Paul Gascoigne from Newcastle United, with the midfielder instead opting to head to Tottenham in 1988, when the Reds had looked in pole position to land the skilful playmaker.

"In reality, you have to say, the only one that always comes to my mind and that's Gascoigne," declared Ferguson. "He was absolutely fantastic. I think if we'd have got him, he would have had a great career, I really do. I'm not saying he didn't have a good career but he would have had a better career with us.

“We had Geordies in our squad like Robson, Bruce plus Bobby Charlton. Sir Bobby would have been a fantastic mentor to him because he's such a fantastic man and even Gary Pallister, although he was from Middlesbrough and I know they don't count that as a Geordie, as someone who understands the culture like Gary would. He promised to sign for us and I went on holiday.

“I got a phone-call from the front desk from Martin Edwards saying he'd signed for Tottenham. He signed for Tottenham because they bought his mother a house for £80,000 and, dearie me, I couldn't believe it, you know. He was a fantastic player."

Wesley Sneijder was linked with a move to United for a sustained period.

Co-presenter David May was one of the many players signed by Sir Alex during his Old Trafford tenure and the Scot explained what he liked most about the former Blackburn Rovers defender when quizzed on the subject by Helen Evans.

"I signed him for two reasons," outlined our legendary ex-boss. "He was a great passer of the ball. And he had one of these attributes, it's not a criticism but he and Gabriel Heinze had the same thing. The first thing they did was kick opponents, whack!

“Gaby was exactly the same but, yeah, he was a good passer of the ball."

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