Transfer Tales: 10 years since Young signed
Today (Wednesday) marks the 10th anniversary of Ashley Young's transfer from Aston Villa to Manchester United.
The winger made the move up the M6 in 2011, signing a five-year deal at Old Trafford.
In his nine years at United, he won the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League.
He left in 2019 to join Internazionale and won the Scudetto with the Italian side before he sealed a return to Aston Villa and the Premier League last week.
Young had first made his name at Watford, helping his boyhood club to promotion in the 2005/06 season with play-off victory against Leeds. He joined Villa in January 2007 and enjoyed a stellar spell in the second city.
He quickly became one of the league's most exciting players, offering traditional, direct wing play and a threat down the middle too. He was named in the Premier League Team of the Year in his first full season at the club as he finished just behind Cesc Fabregas in the assists charts. By the end of his time at Villa Park, he'd become vice-captain and been included in the PFA Team of the Year again so it was clear he was an ideal fit for Sir Alex Ferguson's United.
Ashley had wanted to leave Villa in 2010 but gave another year's service as the Midlanders tried to break into the league's top four. In 2011, with one year left on his contract, there was plenty of interest.
“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,’” Young told UTD Podcast.
“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!
“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.”
💷 Ever wondered how the big deals are completed? Here, a host of United legends reveal all! 👀
WHAT THEY SAID
Ashley Young: “The opportunity to come to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world is one I couldn't turn down. It's a chance to hopefully become part of the history by helping to win the 20th title.”
Rio Ferdinand: “Welcoming Ashley Young to Manchester United – another top, hungry and young player joins the ranks."
Mark Lawrenson (BBC): "He is playing for a manager in Ferguson who loves wide players and who loves to throw people forward, so he should be right at home. Young also had a great record of assists at Villa and you can be sure he will have more at United because he will have so much more of the ball."