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Former Manchester United head scout says he wanted to sign Emre Can, Leon Goretzka

Javier Ribalta (right), former head of recruitment at Manchester United (Image: Twitter)

Bengaluru, September 6: Javier Ribalta, former head of recruitment at Manchester United, has revealed that he wanted to sign Emre Can and Leon Goretzka as free transfers during his time at Red Devils.

Ribalta is a well-known name in Italian football because of his time with Juventus. The 37-year-old worked as a scout at Torino and AC Milan before becoming the chief scout at Juventus, where he gained his most of the reputation.

The Spanish scout is highly respected for his work in driving Juventus's policy of pursuing and signing players with mixed age. He captured some of the top promising players over the years for Juventus like Paul Pogba, Miralem Pjanic, Paulo Dybala, Alex Sandro, Mario Mandzukic and Dani Alves.

His tenure with the Italian side ended two seasons ago and Ribalta was subsequently hired by Manchester United as their head recruiter. The 37-year-old, since then, has helped in bringing some young talents like Diogo Dalot from FC Porto and promising midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk. He worked alongside chief scout Jim Lawlor and head of global scouting Marcel Bout at United.

But surprisingly 13 months into his tenure, the footballing brain quit his job at Old Trafford and joined Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg as the sporting director.

According to reports, no bad blood was shared between the person and United manager Jose Mourinho as Ribalta only agreed to move to Zenit because of a better position.

But the former head of recruitment, while discussing about his time at United, has addressed a regret. The former Manchester United scout has revealed that he wanted to sign Can from Liverpool and Goretzka from Schalke.

"As for my time in Manchester, I was only there for a year but I'd have liked to sign Emre Can and [Leon] Goretzka on free transfers."

Emre Can opted to join Juventus after running down his contract in this summer. Goretzka signed for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich last January on a Bosman transfer.

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Story first published: Thursday, September 6, 2018, 14:40 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 6, 2018
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