We’ve recently been reading Marc Rogers, the players’ agent’s book and in it he reveals quite a bit about what happened behind the scenes with some transfers.
He explains how Sir Alex Ferguson seemed to like to try and poach various Arsenal captains, having tried unsuccessfully with Tony Adams and later successfully with Robin Van Persie.
He also tried with the Patrick Vieira, as recalled by Rogers:
“I had organised a breakfast between the player and Sir Alex Ferguson, the red devils’ manager, at the Sheraton hotel at Roissy CDG airport. Obviously this was a confidential meeting that nearly got discovered when Thierry Roland and Jean-Michel Larque appeared in the hallway.”
Roland and Larque were the main TV guys commentating on all France’s games for TF1, the main French TV channel. The games were watched by between 10 to 20 million spectators at the time. The meeting must have happened during an international break before or after a France away game.
“The meeting was in danger of being disclosed in the media, I had to react really quickly so I said to Patrick and Ferguson ‘Hurry up, let’s go quick, quick, quick we need to go and find another place.’ Sir Alex being a happy and cheerful guy said to Patrick’s ears, maybe it is time for you to stop growing up, even when you are sitting down, people can still spot you”
In the end, we know that Vieira never went to United and ended up being transferred to Juventus a few seasons later.