Former Manchester United manager David Moyes has confirmed that Wayne Rooney came close to joining Chelsea during the summer he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, but revealed that his refusal to do any business with the Blues prevented him from moving to Stamford Bridge.
The 51-year-old Scot - now in charge of La Liga outfit Real Sociedad - explained in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Times how pleased he is to see the Red Devils captain excelling at the Theatre of Dreams.
It's something that might not have been possible had Moyes not fought hard to make sure that Rooney stayed put after convincing the striker that he still had a huge part to play at the club moving forward, despite the apparent breakdown of his relationship with senior officials prior to the ex-Everton boss' arrival.
Moyes knew Rooney well from his time in charge at Goodison Park and looks at the England skipper's achievements as among the most satisfying of any player he's worked with.
“I look at Wayne Rooney. I gave him his professional debut aged 16 and he’s now on the verge of breaking all Manchester United’s scoring records," he enthused.
"I always felt he was as good as any British player out there; wherever he plays, he’s a great footballer and, most importantly, he’ll always score goals.
“Now, I’m delighted for Wayne, because Chelsea were close to taking him. Jose [Mourinho] was interested but we wouldn’t do any business.
“I had to fight to make sure he stayed - and was at the heart, again, of what Manchester United were going to be moving forward.”
Rooney was in action against Chelsea on Saturday but was unable to prevent Manchester United from going down 1-0 against the Premier League leaders after Eden Hazard's first half strike secured all three points for the hosts in west London.
The victory moved the Blues ten points clear at the top of the table with just six games remaining and ended any feint hopes the Red Devils might have had of making a late charge towards the domestic title.
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