Real Madrid superstar Toni Kroos has revealed how close he came to joining Manchester United before his move to the Spanish capital, explaining how discussions with David Moyes convinced him.
The German midfielder has emerged as one of the best in the modern era, with his four Champions League wins highlighting his position at the summit of European football over the past decade.
Eight years ago, just months after winning the treble with Bayern Munich, Kroos was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford and it looked like he would become the first marquee signing of David Moyes’ reign.
The move fell through and Kroos joined Real Madrid instead. The 32-year-old has now revealed exactly how close he came to switching Munich for Manchester, naming one meeting with Moyes in particular.
“I knew beforehand that United wanted me,” Kroos is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “And Moyes absolutely underlined that. It was a really nice afternoon with very pleasant people.. We talked a lot about United’s football plan, which convinced me.
“But we also got to know each other as people. We knew quite a bit about the Moyes family afterwards. We talked about how we lived and how we all imagined life as a family.
“In the end we broke up to do it. So we agreed verbally. The next step should be to look at everything on the spot in Manchester. The move would not have been that complicated – after all, we only had one child at the time, seven months old. It would all have worked.
“I’m not someone who thinks about hypotheticals. Yes, it was close. I almost went to Manchester United. But that’s not how things turned out.
“I don’t have these what-if-thoughts. Because there are no real answers to them. The only thing I can say with certainty is that I probably wouldn’t have won the Champions League three times with Manchester United.”
The move to United was scuppered by Moyes’ dismissal in April 2014, with Kroos’ agreement hinging on the former Everton boss remaining in the hot seat.
Louis van Gaal replaced Moyes that summer and reportedly rejected the chance to reunite with Kroos, whom he worked with at Bayern Munich a couple of years prior.
It’s grim reading for Manchester United fans. Moyes’ dismissal was correct and it was inevitable but would fans have accepted a different approach if they knew that Kroos was signed up to join had they stuck with him?
We’ll never know but the direction in which United decided to go in was hardly any better. A trophy did follow two years later but at the expense of soulless football under Van Gaal.
Meanwhile, Kroos had just sealed his first of three straight Champions League wins with Real Madrid.