'That's my only career regret': Former Manchester United star disappointed in decision to leave club - despite being offered new deal

Henrik Larsson of Manchester United celebrates scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of sixteen second leg match between Manchester United and Lille at Old Trafford on March 7 2007 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United have dipped into the loan market in January for aging strikers on multiple occasions in the past few years. 

Indeed, Wout Weghorst and Odion Ighalo have both arrived at Old Trafford on short term deals, in 2020 and 2023, respectively. While both were fine, neither ripped up trees for Manchester United.

However, things worked a lot better in 2007 when Sir Alex Ferguson decided to bring in a 35-year-old Henrik Larsson to add depth to Manchester United's depleted striking department. 

Henrik Larsson of Manchester United celebrates scoring United's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Manchester United and Lille at Old Trafford on March 7 2007 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Chris Coleman/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Larsson had a successful stint at United (Image credit: Getty Images)

Then at Helsinborg, Sweden's Allsvenskan was in its off-season. A two-month loan deal for Larsson, therefore, made perfect sense, despite him being in the twilight of his career. 

“When the call came, I didn’t hesitate – I had finished the league season in Sweden and it was perfect to go on loan for a few months, "Larsson tells FourFourTwo. "It always helps when you score on your debut. 

"Going to an iconic club like United when I was older, but still ready to compete at the highest level, was great. I only played 13 games, but because I always gave 100 per cent of myself, the supporters appreciated my commitment, my tireless effort and my passion for playing. 

"After two years at Barcelona and scoring goals at 35 for United, it was hard for people to doubt me any more. Those things shut a few people up.”

Swedish footballer Henrik Larsson (L) arrives for a press conference with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson at the Carrington training ground in Manchester, north-west England, 20 December 2006. Larsson has joined the club on loan from Helsinborgs and will spend two-and-a-half months at United and will be eligible to make his debut 01 January 2007 in the English Premiership game against Newcastle. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ferguson attempted to keep Larsson for longer, but was ultimately unsuccessful (Image credit: Getty Images)

Though he only managed three goals in 13 appearances, Larsson's impact on the team was much more than goals. So much so, that Manchester United were eager to extend the loan deal.

Unfortunately for them, Larsson stated that he had made a promise to his family and Helsinborg to return on 12 March - leaving United in the lurch for the remainder of the campaign. 

While he stayed true to his word with the Swedish side and his family, there's certainly a part of him that would've preferred to continue playing at Old Trafford. 

“That’s probably the only regret I have in my career. I should have stayed and enjoyed the Premier League. Manchester United were happy with my work, I was a respected person in the dressing room, and they would probably have offered me a season’s renewal.”

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