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Michael Owen claims he was most-wanted youngster in the world when Manchester United first came calling

Michael Owen

The former England international claims in his new autobiography Reboot: My Life My Time, currently being serialised, that United (opens in new tab), Arsenal (opens in new tab), Chelsea (opens in new tab) and Manchester City (opens in new tab) tried to clinch his signature before he agreed schoolboy terms with Liverpool (opens in new tab).

“We went to Old Trafford and Alex Ferguson took me into his office, stared into my face from a distance of about one inch and said: 'Do you want to be a Manchester United player?’" he writes, as reported by the Mail Online. (opens in new tab)

“It was all so intense - and I didn't know what to say. All I know is that this kind of attention just didn't happen to every young player.

“Without meaning to sound arrogant, I doubt there was a young footballer in the world in such high demand at the time.”

In the end he headed for Anfield, but in 2009, Owen became a free agent at the end of his deal with Newcastle (opens in new tab) and was approached by Fergie for a second time.

“Obviously I knew him given our shared interest and connections in horse racing, so we probably spent more time talking about racing than football in that first meeting,” he said.

“Strangely, I don't think he ever directly said that he wanted to sign me. It was just assumed on both sides. I left knowing that I was probably about to become a Manchester United player.”

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.