Sir Alex Ferguson rejected the chance to sign Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery for Manchester United back in 2006 after watching him for only 45 minutes.
The revelation is one of a number to be made in the latest set of diaries published by Tony Blair’s former communications chief Alastair Campbell, a close friend of the former Old Trafford chief.
According to The Sunday Times, Campbell was with the United boss when Ribery, then playing for Marseille, faced Bolton Wanderers in the UEFA Cup in February 2006.
But Ferguson did not take too long to make his mind up about the France international, then 22, and about to be named Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year.
Campbell wrote: “Alex was watching Franck Ribery, the Marseille winger, but decided by half-time he was not good enough for United.”