Wayne Rooney's move to Manchester United in 2004 changed football forever.
You'd be bonkers to deny that Rooney is anything short of one of the finest Premier League footballers in history and it was his transfer to Old Trafford that ignited his route to greatness.
The impeccable forward would ultimately bow out from the highest tier of the beautiful game as the all-time record goalscorer for both the Red Devils and also the England national team.
Rooney eyes up his 2004 options
We perhaps didn't get to see the longevity of brilliance that we might have hoped to have seen from Rooney, but he set out to become one of the world's best players and he certainly achieved it.
It really makes you wonder what might have happened if Rooney chose a different destination all those years ago because United were actually embarked on a tough run of form.
Sir Alex Ferguson had just been dethroned by Arsenal's 'Invincibles' and there were on course to miss out on the Premier League title for two more seasons due to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.
Interest from Chelsea
And remarkably, according to Rooeny himself, he could actually have linked up with Chelsea in a 2004 move that would have altered how we remember the English game in the modern era.
Talking to the UTD Podcast, Rooney revealed how Everton, due to financial struggles, were trying to push him towards the most financially lucrative move and that came in the form of the Blues.
“I knew it [joining United] was an option before Euro 2004,” Rooney admitted. “I knew Manchester United wanted to sign me.
“I think going to the Euros and doing well there probably added a bit more money onto the transfer fee but I broke my foot and found out a few things.
“Everton were really struggling for money at the time and I found out they were listening to offers from people as well.
“They were trying to push me to sign for Chelsea because they were going to pay the most money. But, once I knew United were interested, I wanted some confirmation that they did want to sign me.”
Newcastle also in the hunt
However, once United had confirmed their interest, only a move to United was on Rooney's mind, but there was still time for Newcastle United to throw a spanner in the works.
“Once I knew they did want to sign me, it was the only club [for me] as I wanted to work with Sir Alex Ferguson and play with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand, these players, so I knew where I wanted to go.
“It was 40 minutes from my home, where I grew up, as well and it was a perfect fit for me. United actually wanted to wait a year, until the following year, but then Newcastle came into talks with Everton and with myself.
“I'd gone too far then. I couldn't wait another year, I couldn't stay another year at Everton, so I was prepared to go to Newcastle for that year.
“I spoke to them, we spoke about salary and what I wanted if I went there was, after a year, if Manchester United come in, you have to let me go.
“Newcastle were agreeing to that but obviously, with United, I went back to them and said, if you don't do it now, I'll go to Newcastle with a clause in place. United obviously didn't want me to go there so I came here.
“It was basically whatever Newcastle paid for me, United would have paid a year later.”
So, there were no major speedbumps in United's quest for Rooney in the end, bringing together a relationship that would produce more than 200 goals and the rest, as they say, is history.News Now - Sport News