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“I should have joined Manchester United” — Arsenal legend



"I should have joined Manchester United" -- Arsenal legend

Football is all about the moment — one time you are flying, the next you are not, and for an Arsenal legend, Emmanuel Petit, it is one of the things he regrets.

The former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder, has admitted that he regrets his decision to reject Manchester United and join Chelsea in 2001, despite multiple attempts by Sir Alex Ferguson to bring him to Old Trafford.

Emmanuel Petit, who enjoyed three successful seasons at Arsenal alongside Patrick Vieira before moving to Barcelona in 2000, found himself linked with a return to the Premier League just a year later. Both Manchester United and Chelsea expressed interest, and there were even rumors of a potential Arsenal reunion.

In a candid interview with FourFourTwo, Emmanuel Petit revealed that he was tempted by the possibility of rejoining Arsenal but felt unwelcome after his departure to Barcelona.

"I should have joined Manchester United" -- Arsenal legend

“I spoke to Arsene [Wenger]. He really wanted me back, but I was honest with him: I said, ‘I appreciate it and it’s very tempting, but I didn’t feel that you wanted me to stay when I signed for Barcelona a year ago’. It’s like divorcing somebody: when you don’t feel desired by them, what’s the point of going back?” Petit explained.

Despite Ferguson’s personal efforts to lure the French World Cup winner to United, Petit was ultimately persuaded by his then-wife, French actress Agathe de La Fontaine, to return to London, leading him to sign with Chelsea.

“I should have gone to Manchester United because Sir Alex Ferguson called me twice. We had a very good conversation and it was tempting, but once again I listened to my wife. She wanted to go back to London – she didn’t want to live in Manchester – so I made the same mistake twice in one year,” Petit admitted.

While Manchester United and Arsenal continued to dominate the Premier League and collect multiple trophies in the following years, Petit’s time at Chelsea was less illustrious. Over three seasons at Stamford Bridge, he made just 55 appearances and failed to add to his medal tally before retiring in 2004.