Former Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly has revealed he had signed a pre-contract agreement with Manchester United prior to his move to Stamford Bridge.
The ex-France international also admitted he turned down the chance to move to Liverpool before settling on a move to West London.
The Ghana-born centre-back joined Chelsea for £4.6 million in 1998 after a highly successful World Cup, which he won in his adopted country.
He later became captain of the Blues and stayed at Stamford Bridge for six years, making over 150 appearenaces for them.
However, he has revealed that, two years before moving to Chelsea, he had agreed to sign for Manchester United on a free transfer before deciding to stay at AC Milan
Desailly told FourFourTwo magazine: “In 1996, I signed a pre-contract agreement with Manchester United. I spoke to Alex Ferguson on the phone.
“I was free! Bosman had just happened. So I was a free transfer! I won’t go into why it didn’t happen but if I had joined them I would have won several more titles! The challenge at Chelsea was interesting, though.”
Liverpool were interested in Desailly on a free transfer but rejected a move to Anfield because the lure of London was too much.
“The club was building, looking to go places and needed big-name players. Liverpool had come in for me, too, but I needed to have a French school nearby for my children.
“So I opted for London for Chelsea, for family reasons and for the quality of life,” Desailly, who is bidding to become the new Ghana manager, explained.