Football News - Michael Carrick: I would've joined Arsenal if it weren't for Cesc Fabregas
Former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Michael Carrick has revealed how Cesc Fabregas scuppered a dream move to Premier League rivals Arsenal.
The 37-year-old spent 12 years at Old Trafford after two years at Spurs, but Carrick confessed he was close to joining the Gunners prior to those transfers.
In 2004, the midfielder was put up for sale after West Ham were relegated the previous year and plenty of Premier League clubs were interested - including Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side who were dubbed 'The Invincibles' - after completing an unbeaten season that year.
Steed Malbranque of Fulham is tackled by Michael Carrick of West Ham during the FA Cup Fifth Round Replay match between West Ham United and Fulham at Upton Park on February 24, 2004 in London.Getty Images
Carrick wrote in his autobiography:
"On the way home, we got another call. Arsenal again, asking us to meet Arsene. As it happened we were driving past his home in north London, so we arranged to call in on the way. Within an hour I was sitting in the front room of Arsene Wenger’s house, pinching myself.
" Could this really be happening? Arsenal! Could I really be on the verge of signing for the Invincibles who’d just gone through the season unbeaten?"
"We talked for almost an hour about football. Wenger had the Community Shield at the weekend, but was spending an hour with me, so surely he had to be interested in signing me? 'Let’s get Cardiff out the way, and we’ll see you Monday,' Wenger said as we left. Things were moving so fast I needed a few minutes to put it all into perspective.
"That night, I sat at the bottom of my bed and talked it through with Lisa, just running all the possibilities through my mind. It came from nowhere. My head was spinning. Arsenal were finishing either first or second in the Premiership."
He wrote, "On the Sunday, I settled down at home in Theydon Bois, Epping, to watch Arsenal, my team to be, in the Community Shield against Manchester United,
"I saw that a kid, Cesc Fabregas, only 17, started in Vieira’s place. Fabregas played a blinder but I didn’t think too much about the significance. I sat at home on Sunday night waiting for the call to arrange details of the next day. Arsenal! I couldn’t wait."
"But I waited, and waited, and that call never came. The next day, I had to go into training at West Ham instead and, on the way, David [Gold] phoned to say he’d had a call from [David] Dein.
"David relayed the gist of his message, like, 'I’m sorry, the manager says we don’t need Michael. Fabregas is coming through like he is. Sorry, the deal’s off.' Fabregas’ performance changed Wenger’s mind about needing me."
"I was totally devastated as I had my heart set on Arsenal and playing with all that talent. My head was gone. Arsenal had swayed me and I didn’t have a clue what I’d do now."
Manchester United's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (L) listens to assistant coach Michael Carrick (2L) on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old TraffordGetty Images
The England international ended up joining Arsenal's North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur that summer and was eventually signed by Sir Alex Ferguson to play for Manchester United in 2006 where he won five Premier League titles, one Champions League and one Europa League.
After 12 years at Old Trafford, Carrick is now in a role as Jose Mourinho's assistant manager.