'I turned down Man Utd twice - Sir Alex tried to sign me but I was Arsenal through and through'

Tony Adams
Tony Adams has revealed how Manchester United tried signing him -Credit:Ben Radford

Transforming Sir Alex Ferguson's advances into shooting blanks isn't an everyday occurrence, yet Arsenal icon Tony Adams has confessed that he had twice done just that.

In his prime, the celebrated Manchester United gaffer approached Adams, then a two-time Premier League champion. Notwithstanding Fergie's efforts, Adams stuck it out at Highbury, hung up his boots as a one-club legend with an astounding 672 appearances for the Gunners to his credit.

This would have however unfolded differently if Ferguson had succeeded in his plotting against one of his fiercest rivals' essential players. The Scottish tactician was known for snatching players from his adversaries during his tenure at Old Trafford, but former England defender Adams went down as one who eluded his grasp.

"Manchester United twice tried to sign me but I turned them down both times because I was Arsenal through and through," Adams mused in his autobiography, SOBER: Football. My Story.

My Life. "The first time was after we had won the title in 1991.", reports the Mirror.

"It was at an England get-together and Bryan Robson spoke to me about it, perhaps having been asked by Sir Alex Ferguson to have a quiet word. Tapping up? Of course, and anyone who doesn't think it goes on in the game informally all the time is being naive."

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Tony Adams, the Romford-born legend who rose through the ranks at Arsenal's academy, has always been a one-club man. His commitment to the Gunners was unwavering, with his trophy cabinet boasting four league titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, and a European Cup Winners' Cup.

Adams revealed the details of Manchester United's interest in him: "The second United approach came in '96, in the autumn just five weeks after I had stopped drinking and in that period of uncertainty when Arsene Wenger was taking over from the sacked Bruce Rioch," he said. "I guess Sir Alex might also have wanted me because, as well as feeling he might be strengthening United, he might be weakening Arsenal."

It wasn't until 2012 that Sir Alex Ferguson finally managed to lure an Arsenal star to Old Trafford, with Robin van Persie leaving after eight years and an FA Cup win to secure a Premier League title in his debut season with United. Alexis Sanchez made the same move in 2018 but with less success.

Unlike them, Adams is remembered as one of the increasingly rare one-club players at the top of the game.