Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has told MUTV that he tried to sign full-back Antonio Valencia when he was in charge of Real Madrid.
The Portuguese took over from Manuel Pellegrini at the Bernabeu in 2010, and lasted three years in the Spanish capital before agreeing to leave in the summer of 2013.
During his time in Madrid, Mourinho brought in the likes of Mesut Ozil, Angel di Maria, and Sami Khedira but, if he had his way, he would have added United’s Valencia to that list.
The Ecuadorian international moved to Old Trafford as a winger in 2009 after starring for Wigan Athletic, yet Mourinho believed that he could see a quality right-back in the 31-year-old before he started playing there.
The United boss told MUTV: ‘I tried to sign Antonio a number of years ago, when I was at Madrid.
‘Even though he was not playing right-back at the time, I thought he could be phenomenal in that position.
‘As it was, United told me ‘no chance’.’
This makes it even less surprising that Mourinho has kept faith with Valencia and not attempted to bring in an established right-back, and the 31-year-old repaid his manager’s faith with several solid displays this season.
Valencia has certainly improved the defensive aspect of his game, but continues to provide the same sort of attacking threat we saw from him when at Wigan, and in the early stages of his United career.
Mourinho highly rates the Ecuadorian, who has won two Premier League titles at Old Trafford, and he could be an integral part of the United defence under the Portuguese for the next few years.