Michael Carrick has revealed he was on the verge of moving to Arsenal but it was Cesc Fabregas whose brilliant display in the Community Shield match halted his dream move.
With West Ham United dropping to the Championship Carrick was on the lookout for a Premier League club. The retired midfielder who was a 23 year old kid then had a chat with a number of clubs and agreed to undergo a medical with Portsmouth.
But Arsenal intervened at the very last moment as they were planning to fill the void of departing Patrick Vieira. Carrick who is currently a part of Jose Mourinho’s coaching team even had met Arsene Wenger at his North London home.
But the scenario changed as a 17 year old midfielder displayed his trickery on the pitch and it forced the Gunners to back out from the deal. Carrick went on to join their North London rival Tottenham Hotspur.
The 37 year old former Manchester United midfielder said, ‘”n the way home (from Portsmouth), we got another call.
“Arsenal again, asking us to meet Arsene. As it happened we were driving past his home in north London, so we arranged to call in on the way. Within an hour I was sitting in the front room of Arsene Wenger’s house, pinching myself.
“Could this really be happening? Arsenal! Could I really be on the verge of signing for the Invincibles who’d just gone through the season unbeaten?
“We talked for almost an hour about football. Wenger had the Community Shield at the weekend but was spending an hour with me, so surely he had to be interested in signing me? “Let’s get Cardiff out the way, and we’ll see you Monday,” Wenger said as we left. Things were moving so fast I needed a few minutes to put it all into perspective.
“That night, I sat at the bottom of my bed and talked it through with Lisa, just running all the possibilities through my mind. It came from nowhere. My head was spinning. Arsenal were finishing either first or second in the Premiership. Lisa knows I’m not a big talker and tend to keep things to myself and find a way to deal with it. This was different.
“I saw that a kid, Cesc Fabregas, only 17, started in Vieira’s place. Fabregas played a blinder but I didn’t think too much about the significance. I sat at home on Sunday night waiting for the call to arrange details of the next day. Arsenal! I couldn’t wait.
“But I waited, and waited, and that call never came. The next day, I had to go into training at West Ham instead and, on the way, David phoned to say he’d had a call from Dein. David relayed the gist of his message, like, “I’m sorry, the manager says we don’t need Michael. Fabregas is coming through like he is. Sorry, the deal’s off.” Fabregas’s performance changed Wenger’s mind about needing me.”