Emmanuel Petit has told how he wishes he had moved to Manchester United when he left Arsenal in 2000, describing his decision to join Barcelona as a ‘mistake’.
The Frenchman, who retired from playing in 2004 - when he returned to England via a spell with Chelsea - hinted that he regretted not having the opportunity to play under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, despite the fact he had been a key part of Arsene Wenger’s Highbury setup for three years.
Petit left the north London giants in 2000, making a switch to Barcelona, but said that the harmony at the Nou Camp was poor as a result of the club’s Catalan backdrop.
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"Maybe I should have gone to Manchester United and had a chance to play at Old Trafford with Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and co. [It was] another mistake from myself," he said, as relayed by Goal.com.
Arsenal fans may well be surprised at Petit’s comments given that United have shared a long-running feud with their Mancunian rivals during the Premier League era.
The United dream
The idea that he would have been happy to trade Highbury for Old Trafford won’t sit well with anyone associated with the Gunners, although from a neutral point of view it’s easy to see the allure Ferguson’s side had at that point in time.
United won the Premier League in 2000, 2001 and 2003, and the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham were part of a golden era in Manchester that went a great deal towards defining Ferguson’s success at the club.
That said, by the same measuring stick, Petit might well have struggled to break into United’s first-team at the time, and he almost certainly wouldn’t have gone on to play for Chelsea.
Of course, his sole year in Spain hardly added anything to the 45-year-old’s legacy, so perhaps staying in England would have done more for him on that front.
United fans, do you think Petit would have had much of an impact on Ferguson’s side at the time? Let us know in the comments box below.