Ex-Spurs defender admits he almost joined Man Utd before coming to North London

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Former Tottenham defender, Pascal Chimbonda, has admitted that Manchester United wanted him just months before he ended up completing a move to North London.

Chimbonda had an impressive first season in English football with Wigan and Spurs snapped him on transfer deadline day in 2006.

The defender famously handed in a transfer request to then Wigan manager Paul Jewell in the dressing room after the club were beaten 4-2 by Arsenal in their final game of the 2005-06 season.

It is something the Frenchman admits he regrets and he revealed that it might have cost him a move to Manchester United.

Speaking about the incident, Chimbonda told the Athletic: “That’s my biggest regret. That changed a lot of things.

“If I didn’t do what I did then maybe I would have joined Manchester United. But when I made this mistake, I threw my chance away. Man United didn’t want to sign someone who would do this.

“Wigan were so mad. They didn’t say anything to me. At the end of the game I gave a written letter to the manager in the dressing room, and he opened it in front of everyone. I wasn’t even showered yet.

“The chairman was there too and I thought ‘what have I done?’ What a stupid thing to do. We were supposed to meet on the Monday, but I was told the manager doesn’t want to see you. Just go on holiday.

“That’s my big regret. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do this.”

Martin Jol was the man who bought the right-back to North London and the defender describes the Dutchman as the best manager he’s worked with in his career.

The former France international, who revealed that he is now doing his coaching badges with an eye on going into management, spoke in glowing terms about Jol.

Chimbonda said: “We could play with freedom. He just let you play football and told you to give everything on the pitch.

“He gave you confidence. Sometimes he would say to me, ‘Pascal, I like you. You’re always so laid back but on the pitch, you’re a different person’.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Chimbonda was actually quite an underrated defender back then and was particularly impressive during his first season at the club. Like Benoit Assou-Ekotto, he had all the talent in the world but just lacked the drive and desire that could have pushed him on the next level.

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