Jose Mourinho has revealed that he tried to sign Wayne Rooney when he was at Chelsea.
The Portuguese boss arrived for his second spell at Stamford Bridge back in 2013 following successful stints with Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
And at that time he was heavily linked with the England captain as Rooney was reportedly pushing for a move away from Old Trafford after a breakdown in his relationship with United legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
Mourinho remained unsuccessful, however, with Rooney going on to extend his Red Devils contract until 2019.
While speaking before the 30-year-old’s testimonial on Wednesday night, the new United boss finally lifted the lid on his attempts to take Rooney to West London.
“You know, I follow from the outside but close because the season he joined Manchester United is the season I came to England for the first time, 2004,” he said.
“I’ve been here already for two different periods and I was close to it. I can say because everybody knows, I tried to buy him.”
Mourinho believes his new skipper is far from finished, despite what his critics say.
“He is a player I always wanted to have on my side,” he added. “Finally, I have him and I have him in the club he loves, the club where he has spent the best years of his career.
“And, I think, the best is yet to come from him.
“I find him full of motivation, full of joy to work every day, and happy to be here as a leader for the young people.
“He’s my man too. I can say, at this moment, he is my man. I am really happy.”
Rooney played 52 minutes of his team’s final pre-season clash, which ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
United’s next fixture comes against Leicester on Sunday, when the sides contest the Community Shield at Wembley.
Jose Mourinho may have backed him to remain Manchester United captain and his talisman has vowed to fight for a regular first-team place under the new regime.
But for how much longer? It doesn’t need an Einstein to work out that Rooney’s reign with both club AND country looks on the wane following the arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Old Trafford and Sam Allardyce as the new England manager.
Add to them the potential signing of Paul Pogba from Juventus and Mkhitaryan being favourite for the No 10 shirt – the question marks over Rooney’s future loom even larger.