When Manchester United agreed to sign Owen Hargreaves from Bayern Munich in 2007 it came as no shock. The combative midfielder had become the first name on the England team sheet over the previous year, and United agreed to pay £17 million to the Bavarians for their star man.
It seemed, on paper a great deal, and Hargreaves slotted straight into the pack.
But just before the move there was what could have been viewed as a warning to United of the dangers involved in signing the Canadian born man.
He broke his leg in 2006-07 and Hargreaves believes that leg break caused the rest of his eventually career ending injury concerns.
In the end things ended badly at United, saying he felt like a guinea pig at the club while lying on the treatment table, and that his final appearance against Wolves was forced upon him despite being unfit.
The fact he went on to sign for Manchester City also might have irked those at Old Trafford.
But the fact remains that his signing was a disaster, with just five appearances in his last three seasons at United.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who brought him to England, wrote of the deal in his recently published autobiography - and certainly didn’t mince his words.
Fergie accused Hargreaves of opting ‘for the easy choice too often’, the deal a ‘disaster’ and that even before signing him ‘there was something about him’ that Fergie didn’t like.
Hargreaves, now a pundit for BT Sport, has now issued a riposte to the claims of laziness and wants to speak to Fergie.
“For it to deteriorate like that is very disappointing and I think it’s a conversation that he and I need to have personally. Anyone who knows me and played with me knows that I always gave my best and I would not wish that situation on anyone because it was very difficult for me to accept that my career changed from one minute to the next and to try and make the best of the situation.”
He is not alone in being stung by Fergie’s new book. Roy Keane, David Beckham, Mark Bosnich and many more have found themselves reading the book through gritted teeth since its release.
For Hargreaves though, somebody who has a reputation for, and is well known for, being a hard worker and tireless in his attempts at overcoming injury the accusations would certainly have stung - and he wants clarification on what Fergie meant, but in private.
Oh to be a fly on the wall…
image: © marcel sigg