Sir Alex and Wayne Rooney with the young fan who made a sign begging to buy the striker.

Rooney lifts the lid on his United transfer

Wayne Rooney has provided more, previously unheard, detail behind his record move to Manchester United in 2004 during an incredible episode of UTD Podcast, to be aired in full from Monday.

The club’s all-time record goalscorer knew the time was right to leave his boyhood team. However, the Reds were prepared to wait a year before signing the exciting teenager.

Another forward, Alan Smith, had already arrived from Leeds United and the initial plan was to bring the Toffees teenager into the fold in 2005, only for developments behind the scenes to force our hand.

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Wayne Rooney.
In this first extract from his UTD Podcast, Rooney reveals the truth about his 2004 transfer.

Wayne tells hosts Helen Evans, Sam Homewood and David May that Chelsea were also interested in his services and it was well documented, at the time, that Newcastle United had managed to muscle in on the bidding and were leading the chase.

The scenario of spending one season with the Magpies was even discussed as Rooney tried to finalise his future but Sir Alex got his man, on transfer-deadline day, and, once the new striker had overcome the injury he sustained at Euro 2004, he never looked back after scoring a sensational hat-trick on his debut, against Fenerbahce in the Champions League at Old Trafford.

“I knew it [joining United] was an option before Euro 2004,” Rooney admits in his UTD Podcast. “I knew Manchester United wanted to sign me. I think going to the Euros, and doing well there, probably added a bit more money onto the transfer fee but I broke my foot and found out a few things.

“Everton were really struggling for money at the time and I found out they were listening to offers from people as well. They were trying to push me to sign for Chelsea because they were going to pay the most money. But, once I knew United were interested, I wanted some confirmation that they did want to sign me. 

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Wayne Rooney.
Wayne Rooney could have played for Newcastle - instead of scoring worldies against them!

“Once I knew they did want to sign me, it was the only club [for me].

“It was a perfect fit for me. United actually wanted to wait a year, until the following year, but then Newcastle came into talks with Everton and with myself. I'd gone too far then. I couldn't wait another year, I couldn't stay another year at Everton, so I was prepared to go to Newcastle for that year.

“I spoke to them, we spoke about the salary and what I wanted. [I told them if] I went there and Manchester United came in, they'd have to let me go. Newcastle were agreeing to that but obviously, with United, I went back to them and said, if you don't do it now, I'll go to Newcastle with a clause in place. United obviously didn't want me to go there so I came here.

“It was basically whatever Newcastle paid for me, United would have paid a year later.”

The willingness to spend a season with the Magpies is a fresh revelation about that particular transfer tale but Wayne's eyes were really fixed on the Reds, for one reason above all others.

“It was good [meeting Sir Alex],” he says. “A bit intimidating. He was someone I'd watched my whole childhood, growing up and seeing him on TV winning trophies. To be in front of him, talking about playing for him was weird. But the minute I spoke to him, I knew I wanted to come here.”

Download the superb Wayne Rooney UTD Podcast on Monday.

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