Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey says Arsene Wenger’s determination to sign him was the reason behind his decision to snub an offer from Manchester United.
The Wales international was the subject of a transfer battle between Wenger and Alex Ferguson in 2008 and was thought to be on the brink of signing for United before opting to move to north London.
The former Cardiff City man, whose father is said to be a United fan, says he was ultimately made to feel “more wanted” by Arsenal after they went to significant lengths to tempt him to Emirates Stadium.
“I went up there to see the facilities and I went to see Arsene Wenger,” Ramsey told Sky Sports.
“He did a lot to try and get me to this club. As a 17-year-old, flying out on a private jet to his hotel [in Switzerland during Euro 2008] was surreal but I think I made the right decision.
“I just felt a bit more wanted by Arsenal and by the boss.”
Ramsey is vying for a starting spot for Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford, with a hamstring injury having restricted him to just two substitute Premier League appearances since the opening weekend of the season.
The 25-year-old has fond memories of the ferocious clashes between United and Arsenal in the past and is relishing the prospect of facing Jose Mourinho’s side.
“I always remember it being a tough clash and a massive battle,” he said. “[Roy] Keane and [Patrick] Vieira, they would just be at each other from the first minute to the last.
“It was like they hated each other and they wanted to go out and be physical and smash into each other.
“But they were really exciting games and things like the incidents in the tunnel would get you massively pumped for them.
“The game has moved on, some of those challenges you wouldn’t get away with these days.
“But we are in a great position at the moment and have started the season very well. They have had a lot of change over the summer and have some very exciting players, so I’m sure it will be a tasty encounter.”
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