Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, Sanchez: Man Utd's most dramatic Man City transfer sagas

Manchester United meet Manchester City for the first time this season in a highly anticipated derby, but the two were engaged in a battle off the field this summer as they locked horns over Cristiano Ronaldo. This wasn’t the time that they have battled for players though.

Manchester United and Manchester City may be fierce rivals on the field, but with that follows a lot of antics off the , with both sides constantly looking to get one over their noisy neighbours.

City have undoubtedly been the more successful Manchester club over recent years as Pep Guardiola’s side can’t stop winning trophies, whereas United are without silverware since 2018.

Although the last decade may have favoured the Citizens, United’s rich history will always give them an edge, and this has helped the Red Devils when it comes to transfers, as it remains very rare that Pep Guardiola’s side are more of a pulling power when United are interested.

Ahead of the 186th Manchester derby, Express Sport takes a look at some of United’s most dramatic transfer sagas with rivals City.

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Cristiano Ronaldo

The most recent saga was this summer as Guardiola attempted to sign a centre-forward, and when a deal for Harry Kane became impossible, the opportunity to sign Cristiano Ronaldo presented itself.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner announced that he would be leaving Juventus, and it had reportedly been agreed that a deal with City was underway  sending United fans into meltdown.

A deal would’ve been the ultimate wind-up from a City perspective, signing a United legend and one of the greatest of all-time, but within hours a deal to return to Old Trafford was agreed, leaving City red-faced.

Although it was only a brief scare, for a moment it looked extremely likely that Ronaldo would actually join his former rivals, but many have speculated that it was purely a plea to urge United to re-sign the Portuguese star.


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Wayne Rooney

When you think of Wayne Rooney you automatically think of Manchester United, and the former star is the  all-time top goal scorer following an incredible 13-year career at Old Trafford.

Rooney signed as a teenager from Everton in 2004 and became one of the world’s best, and won 16 trophies with United before re-signing for the Toffees in 2017.

However, there was a brief period in 2010 that Rooney almost traded red for blue, after a reported fallout with Sir Alex Ferguson, and City were readying a mammoth contract for the England international.

A source close to the club back in 2010 said: “We hadn’t discussed signing we never thought he would be available, just like we have never discussed signing Lionel Messi from Barcelona. Now we know he wants to leave United, we’re obviously going to monitor it closely.”

Rooney kept his legacy at United as a deal never materialised.

Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez has seen his career dominated with transfer controversy, and his Old Trafford exit to join City was no exception as the Argentinian snubbed Ferguson in dramatic fashion.

Tevez was brought to the Premier League by West Ham in extraordinary circumstances via a third party source, and after impressing for Alan Pardew’s side, United snapped up the forward on a two-year loan deal in 2007 with an option to buy.

The forward won two Premier League’s and a Champions League, but despite United offering to match the £25million fee agreed with West Ham and make Tevez one of the highest earners at the club, the Argentinian rejected their approach and joined City instead in 2009.

City took full advantage of Tevez’ decision to reject their rivals, and produced an iconic billboard of their new signing in Manchester to add salt into the United wounds.

Alexis Sanchez

After starring for Arsenal and becoming one of the Premier League’s best players following his arrival from Barcelona in 2014, Alexis Sanchez was extremely sought after, and both Manchester clubs locked horns in an attempt to sign the Chilean.

City seemed to be the inevitable destination for Sanchez, who had the chance to link up with former manager Guardiola after previously playing under the Spaniard at the Nou Camp, but a move to the Etihad stalled.

Arsenal were reluctant to let another of their better stars leave to Premier League opposition without a significant replacement, and United stepped in and offered Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return, which was accepted and City were reportedly furious.

However, the move flopped and United paid in excess of £390,000-a-week for the Chilean who only managed three league goals during a two-year spell at Old Trafford before joining Inter Milan in 2020, but Sanchez has never been the same since leaving Arsenal.

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