'I just s*** myself' - Chelsea midfielder's reaction to Sir Alex Ferguson 'death stare' after rejecting Manchester United transfer
19.11.2023 - 05:29
Manchester United were the club to join during much of Sir Alex Ferguson's 26-year reign and it would have taken a brave man to turn the Scot down.
It would take someone even bolder to do so having already signed a contract and attended a press conference to confirm your imminent arrival. And yet that is what a 17-year-old John Obi Mikel did back in 2005, snubbing Ferguson and Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge and Chelsea.
Mikel was plying his trade in Norway at the time, starring for Oslo-based side Lyn as the dominant central midfielder he would grow to become at the highest level. He only played six times for his first club but also impressed with Nigeria's youth setup, progressing through the age groups at a rapid rate.
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And it was after just one game in Norway that United made their move, sending representatives to Oslo in a bid to win the race for this promising teenager. Having spent a few months training with the Reds in the past, Mikel liked the idea of returning on a permanent basis and the midfielder signed a pre-contract agreement, meaning he would join up just as soon as he turned 18.
"It [Manchester] was a special place for me as well because I was there for two or three months," Mikel recently told talkSPORT. "I know the place. I know the likes of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt. We used to train together. The gaffer was like, 'Oh you need to sign this, you need to sign the contract, because we want you back at the club'.
"I was like, 'You know what, I think I'm going to sign this'. So
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