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Manchester United Transfer News: Sir Alex Ferguson Talks Mario Balotelli, More

Published by Bleacher Report on Tue, 22 Sep 2015

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he was once interested in signing Mario Balotelli before he was dissuaded by reports of the Italian's attitude.Ferguson quit the top job at United after 27 years of success at Old Trafford, but in 2010 he says he considered signing Balotelli from Inter Milan.However, as he revealed in his new book,Leading, he was warned off the wayward forward by various contacts in Italy, via MailOnline's Matt Barlow:In 2010 I briefly flirted with the idea of signing Mario Balotelli, the talented but controversial Italian striker.I did my homework on him, speaking to a few Italian contacts, but the feedback I got confirmed it was too big a risk.I don't know whether this sort of candid professional courtesy exists in other fields, but for me it was a Godsend.Balotelli eventually signed for United's local rivals Manchester City in August 2010 for22.5 million. His early endeavours with City were relatively successful. He played a key role for the Sky Blues in their 6-1 thrashing of United in the 2011-12 season and set up Sergio Aguero for his famous title-winning goal on the last day of the same term against QPR.However, his relationshipeventuallybroke down with manager Roberto Mancini and he was sold to AC Milan for 19 million in January 2013.The 25-year-old's downward trend has continued and he now finds himself back on loan at Milan after a disastrous lone season with Liverpool.Ferguson was undoubtedly well advised in the case ofBalotelli. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers ignored similar advice and was punished for it, per theGuardian's Daniel Taylor.It is not unimaginable, though, that Ferguson may have known how to deal with Balotelli and been able to draw out his talent to its full potential. The Scottish manager famously dealt with the mercurial Eric Cantona in such a way as to turn him into one of the most dangerous attacking forces in the Premier League.One such talent that he was unable to bring round was Paul Pogba, who departed for Juventuson a free transferin 2012.The 73-year-old has put the blame for the Frenchman's departurePogba is now widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the worldsquarely at the door of the player's agent, Mino Raiola, again inLeading(via Jamie Anderson in theDaily Star):There are one or two football agents I simply do not like, and Mino Raiola, Paul Pogbas agent is one of them.I distrusted him from the moment I met him.We had Paul under a three-year contract, and it had a one-year renewal option which we were eager to sign.Raiola suddenly appeared on the scene and our first meeting was a fiasco. He and I were like oil and water.From then our goose was cooked because Raiola had been able to integrate himself with Paul and his family and the player signed with Juventus.The departure of Pogba has turned out to be a big blow for the Red Devils. They have since been forced to spend huge money on the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger to strengthen their weak midfield.However, there is no guarantee that the 22-year-old would have made the same advances had he stayed on at Old Trafford as he has with Juve over the last few years.Ferguson has little to regret as he looks back on his career at United and failing to keep Pogba was seemingly beyond his reach. Eschewing the chance to sign Balotelli, though, was one of many masterstrokes.
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