Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that Manchester United ‘explored’ the possibility of signing Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery.
Ribery has been a target for many of Europe’s leading clubs, with Spanish rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid expressing an interest in signing the France international.
United were rumoured to be readying a bid as the Premier League champions sought to spend some of the £80m they recouped from Real Madrid for the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo.
“We didn’t try to buy Ribery, we explored it in a nice, quiet way when David Gill was at one of his meetings with Bayern in March,” said Ferguson.
“They told him, ‘absolutely no chance’ and the one thing you can say about Bayern is that, when they say something, they mean it.
“When we negotiated with them over Hargreaves, at the beginning they said ‘no’, but they also said that, if it ever changed, their minds, we’d be the first to know.
“It was exactly the same this time. There is no way that they will sell Ribery.”
Ferguson also considered signing Karim Benzema from Lyon, but admitted he did not want to pay over the odds for the France striker. Eventually the striker signed for Real Madrid in a deal that could eventually rise to €42million
He added: “We tried to spend it (the Ronaldo money) on Karim Benzema as, at 21, I felt that there would be an improvement there.
“He is tough, good physique, a good goalscoring record, so it was worth going a wee bit extra for him because of his age.
“But when it went to £42million, it was beyond his value. We went to £35million and I think that was fair.”