Jose Mourinho has admitted he tried to sign Antonio Valencia when he was manager of Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013.
The Ecuadorian has impressed under Mourinho this season, but Mourinho was told “no chance” when he tried to bring him to Spain.
“I tried to sign Antonio a number of years ago, when I was at Madrid,” Mourinho told MUTV. “Even though he was not playing right-back at the time, I thought he could be phenomenal in that position. As it was, United told me: ‘No chance'”.
“I am not surprised by his form this season,” Mourinho added. “He has been clean of injuries, save for an operation on his arm which did not keep him out for long, and I have also been able to keep him fresh by resting him in certain Europa League games.
“I think he is the right-back to give us the maximum we can in terms of our attacking football.”
Valencia returned in the weekend draw with Arsenal just 24 days after fracturing his arm and received the man of the match award.
The 31-year-old Ecuador international is out of contract at the end of the season but seems destined to earn an extension.