Speaking to the Daily Star, former England international Jermaine Jenas has stated that he rejected the chance to join Manchester United in favour of Newcastle.
Having broken into the scene at Nottingham Forest back in 2001, Jenas was considered as one of the hottest prospects in English football at the time and a host of Premier League clubs were interested in securing his services.
It was Newcastle United who eventually managed to land his signature for a fee believed to be in the region of around £5 million in February 2002 and now the former England international has gone on to speak regarding the choices he had apart from the Magpies, that particular winter.
Jenas explained that Manchester United had indeed placed an offer for him but the former midfielder decided to snub Sir Alex Ferguson as he felt that the offer had been put up just because he was ‘hot property’ at the time.
He told the Daily Star, “I sat down with my manager, he called me in on my day off, and he basically just went: ‘Look, we’ve had three offers in for you. Leeds have offered £5m, Newcastle £5m and Man United £3m.
“I thought that was weird, but basically he said: ‘Ferguson thinks it’s an honour to play for the club, therefore he’s only offering £3m.’
“I think they were kind of only doing the deal because I was hot property at the time – not because he genuinely wanted me. At United they were saying: ‘We’ll develop you and you’ve got all these star players to train with.’
“But I didn’t want that. I wanted to be playing. Bobby didn’t stop ringing my phone – and David O’Leary was ringing me. So it was kind of like, which way do I go?”
Jenas explained that he also rejected Leeds United due to the intervention of his agent. The ex-Tottenham man continued, “Leeds were Champions League at the time, they had [Rio] Ferdinand, [Robbie] Keane, [Robbie] Fowler and so on – and it was closer to home.
“But my agent said: ‘You can’t go to Leeds. It’s going to fall apart. I promise you it’s not good there.’ Once I’d got to St James’ Park, the minute I pulled up to the stadium, I’d decided I wasn’t going anywhere else.
“It felt like the right place to be – and Bobby just sold it to me by making sure I knew I was going to be playing. I could have said no, gone to United and you might never have seen me. I might have gone into the reserves, got paid loads of good money and just been comfortable.
“I might not have been able to break through into that unbelievable United team of [Roy] Keane, [Nicky] Butt and [Paul] Scholes. I could have just gone missing.”