Sir Alex Ferguson has a new book out, Leading, written with successful venture capitalist Michael Moritz. It is ostensibly about the art of leadership, and will surely be read by pompous middle-management types the world over, though it also contains plenty of tasty gossip on the ongoings at Manchester United during his remarkable tenure (though sadly, it's even lighter on Glazer content than his previous tome). Here are some of the juiciest excerpts from Fergie's selective bean-spilling:
United only ever had four 'world class' players:
"If you read the papers or listen to the television commentators, we seem to be awash with 'world-class' footballers ... I don't mean to demean or criticise any of the great or very good footballers who played for me during my 26-year career at United, but there were only four who were world class: Cantona, Giggs, Ronaldo and Scholes."
Wayne Rooney's wage hike in 2010 was the catalyst for Ferguson to demand to be paid more than all of the players:
"I told [the Glazers] I did not think it fair that Rooney should earn twice what I made and Joel Glazer immediately said: ‘I totally agree with you but what should we do?’. It was simple. We just agreed that no player should be paid more than me. We agreed in less time than it takes to read the previous sentence."
United were rejected by Pep Guardiola, but never approached José Mourinho:
"I askd Pep to phone me before he accepted an offer from another club, but he didn't and wound up joining Bayern Munich in July 2013."
"When we started the process of looking for my replacement, we established that several very desirable candidates were unavailable. It became apparent that José Mourinho had given his word to Roman Abramovich that he would return to Chelsea, and that Carlo Ancelotti would succeed him at Real Madrid."
United could've signed Sergio Agüero:
"I always tried to tell myself that it wasn't the end of the world if we failed in a particular negotiation ... If you need one person to chance your destiny, then you have not built a very solid organisation. We had a chance to buy Sergio Agüero before he went to Manchester City, but eventually his agent was demanding a price we were not prepared to pay."
And Paul Pogba's departure was (of course) his agent's fault:
"We had Paul under a three-year contract, and it had a one-year renewal option which we were eager to sign. [Mino] 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."
Of course, Fergie has plenty of interest in penning this book, and absolving himself of some of the stick he's received over his role in the hiring of David Moyes and the like. However, even with that in mind it looks an interesting read, with plenty more tidbits than merely those recounted here.