MANCHESTER UNITED nearly missed out on Michael Carrick back in 2006 with Sir Alex Ferguson snubbing pleas to sign AC Milan and Liverpool heroes.
Manchester United veteran Carrick announced he would be hanging up his boots at the end of the season during the Red Devils’ pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s Champions League showdown against Sevilla.
However, the Manchester Evening News say Ferguson very nearly opted for a different signing altogether back in the summer of 2006.
At the time, United were keen to build a squad capable of winning the Premier League after seeing Arsenal and Chelsea (twice) win the trophy.
Roy Keane had walked away and, with Paul Scholes getting on and Darren Fletcher still a relatively raw talent, Ferguson felt more was required.
It is said that Manchester United fans were desperate for the club to invest in one of Javier Mascherano or Gennaro Gattuso.
Mascherano has achieved cult hero status at Liverpool despite only being at Anfield for 18 months.
He was a key part of the Reds team that finished second in 2009 and, had it not been for Rafael Benitez’s rant, may have even got a Premier League winners medal.
Gattuso, meanwhile, is an AC Milan legend.
The 40-year-old is currently in charge of the Rossoneri and made 468 appearances for the San Siro outfit – with only six players making more.
The MEN add United also had an interest in Villarreal’s Marcos Senna.
But Carrick, ultimately, was the chosen one.
The 36-year-old has tipped Scott McTominay to be his heir with the Scot enjoying a solid start to life at the club.
“I think it is quite refreshing to look at Scott and see how he deals with it,” the veteran said.
“He goes about his business, he comes in, he is always in doing extra training. He’s desperate to do well and he’s always looking for those little things to improve on.
“All the glitz and the glamour that can surround young players these days, he doesn’t seem too interested in that, which is fantastic especially at this stage of his career.
“It’s about making a career, that’s how it is. You can’t live like you’ve had a career before you’ve had the career – you’ve got to earn it.”
“But he’s still got some way to go to fully establish himself as a big player for this club but so far he’s on a great track, he’s given himself the best possible chance to fulfil that.
“He’s a shining example to kids looking up to how you can be within yourself and how you are coping, your body language, mentality. He’s done great.”