The Swedish manager has revealed that he was due to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of the Red Devils until the Scottish boss reversed his decision to retire.
The Scottish coach had planned to retire that year, and Eriksson said that United officials moved to approach him over the role – even signing a contract.
The Swede was prepared to leave the England national team until Ferguson performed a U-turn to remain at Old Trafford for another decade, while Eriksson continued with the Three Lions until 2006.
"I knew it would be tricky," wrote Eriksson in his autobiography, which is being serialized by the Mail on Sunday. "I had a contract with England until the 2006 World Cup and I would be severely criticized if I broke that contract. But this was an opportunity to manage Manchester United. A contract was signed — I was United's new manager."
Eriksson, who also revealed that he had fallen out with Ferguson over Wayne Rooney, claims his agent, Pini Zahavi, has the contract stating the 65-year-old would be United's new manager in his office.