Back in the summer of 2002, Jenas was just 19 and one of the hottest properties in British football after breaking into the first-team at Nottingham Forest and putting in some excellent displays in the middle of the pitch.
Eventually, Jenas ended up moving to Newcastle United under Sir Bobby Robson, but speaking to the Daily Star, the ex-England international admits he turned down an offer from Sir Alex Ferguson and the Red Devils.
He said: “I sat down with my manager (at Forest), he called me in on my day off, and he basically just went: ‘Look, we’ve had three offers in for you. Leeds have offered £5m, Newcastle £5m and Man United £3m.
“I thought that was weird, but basically he said: ‘(Alex) Ferguson thinks it’s an honour to play for the club, therefore he’s only offering £3m.’ I think they were kind of only doing the deal because I was hot property at the time – not because he genuinely wanted me.
“At United they were saying: ‘We’ll develop you and you’ve got all these star players to train with.’ But I didn’t want that. I wanted to be playing.
“Bobby (Robson, the then Newcastle manager) didn’t stop ringing my phone – and David O’Leary was ringing me. So it was kind of like, which way do I go?
“Leeds were Champions League at the time, they had (Rio) Ferdinand, (Robbie) Keane, (Robbie) Fowler and so on – and it was closer to home. But my agent said: ‘You can’t go to Leeds. It’s going to fall apart. I promise you it’s not good there.'”
Refusing the opportunity to play for Man Utd almost definitely cost Jenas several Premier League winner’s medals, as well as potential glory in Europe.
But as it happened, he enjoyed a pretty fruitful career as it was, going on to play in the Champions League for Tottenham, as well representing his country.
But could he have developed into an even better player if he’d been training under a manager like Ferguson, and alongside players like Keane and Scholes every day?
What do you think?
Let us know in the comments section below…
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