‘Alex Ferguson tapped me up’ – Arsenal legend reveals he turned down Manchester United twice

Kevin Palmer

Arsenal legend Tony Adams twice turned down the chance to sign for Manchester United, after revealing he was ‘tapped up’ by the club’s former manager Alex Ferguson.

Adams spent his entire career at Arsenal, winning four league titles with the Gunners and six more major titles in a 19-year career with the club.

In his latest book – which is being serialised in The Sun – Adams has revealed that he was not tempted to take up the offers to join United for a variety of reasons.

“Manchester United twice tried to sign me but I turned them down both times because I was Arsenal through and through,” wrote Adams.

“The first time was after we had won the title in 1991. It was at an England get-together and (then United captain) Bryan Robson spoke to me about it, perhaps having been asked by Sir Alex Ferguson to have a quiet word.

“Tapping up? Of course, and anyone who doesn’t think it goes on in the game informally all the time is being naive.

“At the time, the wages weren’t going to be much better, and I was stuck in my drinking and the London life with my mates and family around me. I wouldn’t have had the tools to cope up in Manchester on my own.

“The second United approach came in ’96, in the autumn just five weeks after I had stopped drinking and in that period of uncertainty when Arsene Wenger was taking over from the sacked Bruce Rioch.

“I guess Sir Alex might also have wanted me because, as well as feeling he might be strengthening United, he might be weakening Arsenal.”

Meanwhile, Adams suggested Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was ‘not really a coach’, in comments that may be viewed as criticism of the Frenchman still in charge of the club to this day.

“Arsene is essentially not a coach,” he added. “Back in the day I said in an interview coaching wasn’t Arsene’s strong point.

“Actually in the original draft, I said he couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. And though I modified that in the final article, it didn’t go down well.

“It all left me feeling that I would never get a chance in any capacity while Arsene was there.

“Much as I respected him for his long and successful tenure, my occasional willingness to pass comment on him and the team probably counted against me.”

 

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