Sir Alex Ferguson was hellbent on signing Vincent Kompany before he joined Manchester City and became a club legend.
The Belgian joined City from Hamburg in 2008 in the closing days of the summer transfer window at a time when the heady days of last season were a pipe dream.
Kompany is undoubtedly a City legend and one of their best ever playersGetty Images – Getty
What would follow would be 11 years filled with glory for Kompany, who became a pivotal part of one of the most dominant sides in Premier League history.
And 360 appearances later, Kompany won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups.
That included being captain of the side that won an unprecedented British treble in 2019 – his final season.
However, had Sir Alex Ferguson got his way, Kompany would be best remembered in red – not blue.
That is because in 2004, when the defender was plying his trade for Belgian side Anderlecht at the age of 18 he had his eye on him.
In Fergie’s book ‘Leading’, released in 2015, it contained interesting details about player analysis ahead of the 2004/05 season.
United were in dire need of a reboot and faced losing their stranglehold over the Premier League.
They had just finished third, behind Arsenal and their ‘Invincibles’, and Roman Abramovich’s freshly-bought Chelsea.
Ferguson was less than pleased with his defensive options ahead of the 2004/05 campaign
Kompany was a rising star with Anderlecht as a teenagerGetty
Never in the Premier League’s history had United gone longer than two years without a league title and Ferguson was not about to let that become a reality.
A document that has come to light showed the work made in the transfer window, compiling lists of players categorised into four columns.
There were columns for ‘squad’, ‘excess’, ‘youth potential’ and ‘transfer targets/possibilities’.
Among those listed were Gabriel Heinze, Philippe Mexes, Gerard Pique and… Kompany.
Pique ended up joining from Barcelona as a youngster, making a handful of appearances before returning to the Camp Nou.
Roma landed Mexes from Auxerre instead of United and Heinze did make the switch to Old Trafford.
While the Argentine had a commendable three years at the club, it does not stack up to Kompany’s achievements at the Etihad.
United ended up signing Heinze from PSG
There certainly will not be any statue built in honour of Heinze at Old Trafford, though.
When asked about the potential transfer in 2015, Kompany said: “United asked about me, but I had other priorities at the time.
“I was studying for my A-levels and my mother made me finish my education before I could concentrate on football.
“It’s a massive honour to be captain of this club and I can tell you that I feel really good.
“I have put my sweat and blood into Manchester City. I’m passionate about the club and I want success as much as the owners.”
And now he is back to stop their dominance as manager of Burnley.
The 37-year-old guided the club back to the Premier League, but has an uphill task keeping them there and his first game is against – who else but his old boss Pep Guardiola.
And he can bank on the fact the City manager will not be lending him a helping hand in his quest for the Premier League title, one that Kompany knew too well as a player.
The first two Premier League games of the 2023/24 season are live on talkSPORT starting with Burnley vs Man City at 8pm on 11 August and Arsenal vs Forest on 12 August at 12:30pm