LUKA MODRIC wanted to sign for Manchester United but the club went for Shinji Kagawa instead, claims Rio Ferdinand.
The former Man Utd centre-back revealed that he tired to convince the Croatian to join him at Old Trafford before he moved from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2012.
However, the transfer did not materialise due to the club already having a deal in place for Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund.
Ferdinand, 44, told the FIVE YouTube channel that Modric wanted to become United’s first ever Croatian player.
He said: “Any player that was available or was coming up I used to think that I could somehow get into them.
“Modric, I remember speaking to him, I said, ‘Are you leaving [Tottenham]?’
“He said, ‘Yeah, I think I’m going to go’ but he wasn’t sure at the time where he was going.
“I said, ‘Listen, you’ve got to come to United.’
“He said, ‘Yeah I want to be the first Croatian to play for Man Utd, I want to be that guy, can we make it happen?’
“But it didn’t happen. I spoke to David Gill [CEO] and the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] at the time had already agreed with Shinji Kagawa I think it was – I think that was the year, I’m sure it was.
“Or they already had irons in the fire with another player and they did that deal and then Modric went to Madrid and the rest is history.”
Modric, 37, has gone on to win the Champions League five times with the Spanish side and he has led his nation to a World Cup final and semi-final in the last two tournaments.
Ferdinand praised the central-midfielder’s talent and admitted he didn’t expect him to go on to have the decorated career he has enjoyed.
As for Kagawa, 33, his move to United did not go as planned scoring just six goals in 57 games before returning for a second spell at Dortmund.
He is currently playing for Sint-Truiden in Belgium.
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