Former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has revealed that he was on the cusp on joining Arsenal’s Invincibles team – before a standout performance from Cesc Fàbregas was the catalyst for the deal collapsing back in 2004.
The 37-year-old, who is currently part of the backroom staff at Old Trafford, has enjoyed a decorated career with some of English football’s biggest clubs, including West Ham and Tottenham before his move to United.
“So, we went to meet Harry [Redknapp] and Peter [Storrie] at a hotel near Heathrow on August 6, 2004, a couple of days before the season started with the Community Shield,” an extract from Carrick autobiography reads, via The Times.
“On the way, David got a call from David Dein that really threw us. Dein was the main man at Arsenal and very close to Arsène Wenger. There was nothing concrete, and we didn’t know the strength of their interest, but still, Arsenal!
Michael Carrick has revealed that he suffered from depression for 2 years after United’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in 2009…
Massive respect to him for being so open & honest about this pic.twitter.com/do2niZyd6x
— TeamFA (@TeamFA) October 9, 2018
“Then, on the way home, we got another call. Arsenal again, asking us to meet Arsène. As it happened we were driving past his home in north London, so we arranged to call in on the way. Within an hour I was sitting in the front room of Arsène Wenger’s house, pinching myself.
“I’d heard [Patrick] Vieira was leaving Arsenal and that opened up a space in midfield, so it seemed nailed on that Monday morning I’d be an Arsenal player.
“[During the Community Shield] I saw that a kid, Cesc Fàbregas, only 17, started in Vieira’s place. Fàbregas played a blinder but I didn’t think too much about the significance.
“The next day, I had to go into training at West Ham instead and, on the way, David phoned to say he’d had a call from Dein. David relayed the gist of his message, like, ‘I’m sorry, the manager says we don’t need Michael. Fàbregas is coming through like he is. Sorry, the deal’s off.’
“I was totally devastated as I had my heart set on Arsenal and playing with all that talent. My head was gone. Arsenal had swayed me and I didn’t have a clue what I’d do now.”
Wishing Michael Carrick all the best for his coaching career. Such an elegant, professional and underrated player – a real joy to watch over the years. Has won everything there is to win in world football. Legend.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) May 13, 2018
Although the midfielder admits he was “devastated” by not joining Arsenal, Carrick would have the last laugh by going on to lift five Premier League titles, a Champions League and a number of other domestic honours during his career, all of which came at Manchester United.