Alain Traore has claimed Manchester United wanted to sign him five years ago.
The 22-year-old Burkina Faso international spent a month on trial at Old Trafford as a teenager, impressing manager Sir Alex Ferguson with his left foot.
However, work permit issues prevented Manchester United from bringing the African to the club permanently, and a move to France eventually came Traore's way.
"It went well and Sir Alex said he wanted to keep me, but it was impossible to get a work permit. He suggested that I go to a Belgian club initially, but I also had the chance to play for Auxerre," Traore told Ligue1.com.
"I'll never forget the discussion I had with Ferguson in his office. He had a picture of David Beckham with some other stars celebrating with a trophy. He said if I worked hard enough, I could have the same success as Beckham at Manchester United.
"I also remember he was impressed with my left foot. He said: 'Alain, it's better to have one great foot that two average feet; just look at Ryan Giggs'. It was a great moment."
The former Manchester United target has been in great form with his club this season, scoring six goals in just 10 appearances in the top French division.