Before he joined Chelsea in 2006, John Obi Mikel spent time on trial at Manchester United.
Indeed, the Red Devils thought they’d signed the talented Nigerian midfielder, who even posed in a United shirt at a hastily-arranged press conference.
However, Mikel decided he wanted to move to Stamford Bridge instead, things quickly became very complicated and United ultimately lost out.
Mikel would spend the next 11 years with the Blues before joining the Chinese club Tianjin TEDA back in January.
And he will always hold a special place in the hearts of Chelsea supporters for his excellent service.
Mikel has opened up about the transfer saga involving Man Utd in an interview with The Sun this week.
You can find out what Sir Alex Ferguson said to him after he rejected United in favour of a move to Chelsea by clicking HERE.
Mikel reveals a different side to Roy Keane
During the same interview, Mikel revealed something rather surprising piece about his time training alongside United’s ferocious former captain Roy Keane.
The Nigeria international, now 30, says that Keane took him under his wing and prevented his teammates - namely Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt - from taking him out during training sessions.
“I trained with the first team,” Mikel said. “Roy Keane was my bodyguard.
“Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt always tried to kick me but couldn’t when Roy was there because he’d have killed them.”
Most players who trained with Keane tell a different story
It’s nice to discover there is a different side to Keane.
Most of the stories told about the former Republic of Ireland international make him sound terrifying.
Rio Ferdinand once told The Sun, per the Daily Mail: “On my first day of training, he (Keane) gave me an absolute rollocking for playing an easy square ball instead of looking to do something positive.
“I saw that day why United were winners and why Roy was at the heart of it.”
But it sounds like Keane wanted Mikel to join United so much that he went out of his way to be nice for once.
Mikel: Keane asked Fergie to sign me
The former Chelsea star also revealed how Keane was one of several senior players at Old Trafford who personally asked Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him.
“Sir Alex called me Obi Wan (after the Star Wars character),” he added.
“He called me into his office one day and said: ‘Obi Wan, do you know what Keane, Scholes and all the senior players have told me? They said you have to sign that boy’.
“I couldn’t believe it. Here was I, a schoolkid from Africa, training with some of the best in the world.”
However, despite the attempts of Keane and Ferguson, Mikel opted for Chelsea instead.
And Keano was never nice to another human being again.
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