The Red Devils were routinely linked to the Colombian international but a deal has never been made for a player they will need now on Saturday
The Colombian playmaker got off to a great start at Goodison Park, scoring three goals and helping three more in his first six Premier League games for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
He is now preparing to take on a United team that was linked to a move for the 29-year-old who was eager to end his disappointing time at Real Madrid last summer.
And although he’d ended up in Merseyside rather than Manchester, it wasn’t the first time he’d gotten a tip to move to Old Trafford.
But how close had United got to signing James? And did you miss a trick by not acquiring it, given his impressive start in England?
He first appeared on the club’s radar as a teenager in 2010 when he played for Banfield.
“United’s Argentina scout Jose Mayorga was a huge fan of James,” said Marcelo Teixeira, who worked for the club across South America between 2008 and 2011 The telegraph.
“Mayorga always included James’ name in his reports, but the club’s assessment was that his style of play did not match the Premier League.”
Of course, early signs suggest that given his shape at Everton, this may have been a misdiagnosis.
Despite United’s interest, James instead moved to Porto, where he continued to be watched over by Sir Alex Ferguson himself. The legendary coach was looking for a new # 10 to build his attack on.
After failing to sign Eden Hazard from Lille in 2012, it was decided to start negotiations on a move for James. However, the Colombian international rejects them in favor of joining Monaco.
“They talked there,” James said of Rio Ferdinand’s YouTube show.The lockerroom’ of United’s interest in his services eight years ago. “My agent (Jorge Mendes) has a great relationship with the club.
“We always dreamed of coming to a big club and I’ve admired Manchester since I was a kid. I’ve always seen these teams with Rio [Ryan] Giggs and [Paul] Scholes. There were a lot of great players and I wanted to get there this year. But it didn’t happen.
“I thought I had to play for a club that isn’t that big. So I went to France just before the World Cup and my plan was to go to the World Cup, have a great tournament, score goals and get a good result. ”Level and then play for a big club. ”
If that was really James’ plan, things couldn’t have gone better for him. He emerged as the star of the show in Brazil, winning the World Cup Golden Shoe when Colombia reached the quarter-finals before making a € 80m move to Real Madrid later that summer.
Although he had a strong first season at Santiago Bernabeu, injuries limited his playing time thereafter and when he joined Bayern Munich on loan in 2017 it was clear that his time as a starter in Madrid was probably over.
Unsurprisingly, given their transfer strategy at the time when it came to signing the biggest names they could get their hands on, United had his signature on almost every transfer window.
Though most of the stories were just rumors Tor can confirm that United offered one final attempt to sign it in the summer of 2019.
With Madrid eager to take over Paul Pogba, Spanish giants United offered a cash plus player deal that would have seen James move to Manchester.
However, United was not interested.
They agreed to approve Pogba’s sale but would accept no less than £ 150m ($ 198m) for the France international. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also planned to rebuild his squad with young British players. Having just turned 29, James didn’t fit the bill.
Ultimately, United switched to Bruno Fernandes instead, who was 25 when he arrived late at Old Trafford during the January transfer window. Given the impact of the Portuguese, Solskjaer will feel like the club made the right call.
Of course, James was again offered to all of Europe’s biggest clubs that summer as Zinedine Zidane deemed him overwhelmed, but even after failing to land Jadon Sancho, United never considered making an offer.
In the end, James ended up in Everton, and those at United who doubted he could make it in the Premier League a decade ago may now be eating their words.
Still, United have no regrets about how things turned out. But you can be sure that everyone at the club will hope their decision to pass on the chance to sign James doesn’t come back to haunt them on Saturday afternoon at lunchtime.
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