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Arsenal legend admitted he “should have joined Man Utd” after multiple calls from Sir Alex Ferguson

Chris Byfield

| Last updated 

Arsenal legend admitted he “should have joined Man Utd” after multiple calls from Sir Alex Ferguson

An Arsenal legend admitted he should have joined Manchester United instead of Chelsea back in 2001.

Emmanuel Petit spent three fine seasons in north London, where he formed a fearsome midfield partnership with compatriot Patrick Vieira, before moving to Barcelona in 2000.

However, he lasted just a year at the Catalan giants, before being linked with a move back to the Premier League. United and Chelsea were both said to be keen, while the Frenchman was also linked with a return to Arsenal.

Petit ultimately opted to join the Blues, a decision he now admits he regrets.


Petit regrets Chelsea move

Petit admitted he should have joined Sir Alex Ferguson’s United team instead of Chelsea.

Speaking to FourFourTwo Petit said: “I had many clubs interested in taking me back to England [in 2001].

“Arsenal approached me but so did Manchester United.


“I spoke to Arsene. He really wanted me back, but I was honest with him: I said, 'I appreciate it and it's very tempting, but I didn't feel that you wanted me to stay when I signed for Barcelona a year ago'.


“It's like divorcing somebody: when you don't feel desired by them, what's the point of going back?”

Petit added that Ferguson had personally called him on two separate occasions, attempting to entice the World Cup winner to switch Catalonia for Old Trafford.


However, Petit was ultimately convinced by his then-wife, French actress Agathe de La Fontaine, to return to London.

He explained: “I should have gone to Manchester United because Sir Alex Ferguson called me twice. We had a very good conversation and it was tempting, but once again I listened to my wife.

“She wanted to go back to London – she didn't want to live in Manchester – so I made the same mistake twice in one year.”

Both United and Arsenal would battle for Premier Leagues and lift multiple trophies in the years that followed, while Petit failed to add any medals to his tally before his retirement in 2004. In fact, in three seasons at Stamford Bridge he featured just 55 times.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Arsenal, Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, Chelsea, Barcelona

Chris Byfield
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