Former Manchester United captain and Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce revealed Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were also interested in Antonio Valencia.
The Red Devils winger has been a revelation the past two seasons and his manager at Wigan admitted he and club chairman Dave Whelan wanted the Ecuadorian to play under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
“There was a lot of interest in Antonio that summer,” Bruce told the Manchester Evening News.
“Real Madrid wanted him and so did Bayern Munich, but Wigan chairman Dave Whelan and I wanted him to go to Old Trafford. That was always going to happen if we had our way!”
Many may find it surprising that Bruce would want one of his best players at the time to join a club in the same league as his side.
Valencia moved to United in the summer of 2009 for a fee of £16million after spending three years at Wigan, two of those on loan from Spanish club Villarreal.
It was a successful deal for the Latics who reportedly made an £11million pound profit on the winger, though the fee was undisclosed.
Bruce was in the middle of a successful spell under Whelan and he told how they both believed having a Wigan player move to United would look good on the club, so they did all they could to persuade him to join Ferguson’s side.
“We both felt it would be a feather in Wigan’s cap to have a player transfer to Manchester United,” added the former Sunderland boss.
“There was big, big interest from Real and Bayern, amongst others, but we did our best to point him in the direction of Old Trafford.
“Apart from anything else, I thought he was a Manchester United player and he’d handle the step up well. It was his call in the end, but after our input and a chat with Sir Alex, his mind was set.”
Valencia will return to his old club tonight as United hope to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.