Auxerre midfielder Alain Traore has claimed in an interview with Ligue1.com that only a work-permit issue prevented him from joining Manchester United.
The 22-year-old Burkina Faso international, who has been in lethal form so far this season, spent a month on trial at Old Trafford when he was 17, and has now claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson had been impressed with him.
"It went well and Sir Alex said he wanted to keep me, but it was impossible to get a work permit. He suggested that I go to a Belgian club initially, but I also had the chance to play for Auxerre," Traore began.
"I'll never forget the discussion I had with Ferguson in his office. He had a picture of David Beckham with some other stars celebrating with a trophy. He said if I worked hard enough, I could have the same success as Beckham.
"I also remember he was impressed with my left foot. He said: 'Alain, it's better to have one great foot that two average feet; just look at Ryan Giggs'. It was a great moment."
Traore has scored six goals in his 10 Ligue 1 appearances so far this season.