Red Devils stalwart Carrick started his career at West Ham United before moving on to Tottenham Hotspur in his formative years.
But it was at Old Trafford where he laid down roots, racking up 460 appearances for United over 11 years and winning five Premier League titles, an FA Cup, three League Cups, six Community Sheilds and the Champions League, Europa League and World Club Cup.
Carrick was sold by the Hammers in 2004 after they had failed to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking following relegation and went for a paltry £3.5m to bitter rivals Spurs.
"Timing of things is crucial I think when you look back over your career, certain things could've happened and it could have gone one way or the other and you've taken that path and it's worked out and that (joining Spurs) was one of them," Carrick told Merson on Sky Sports.
"I could have gone to a number of clubs from West Ham, there was like Palace, West Brom were interested at that time (and) I was that close (illustrates with tightly pinched fingers just how close) to going Portsmouth with Harry, so close there and that would have worked out totally different, they had a tough time after that and the year after they hit hard times."
Redknapp reacts to Pompey scoring against Cardiff City during the FA Cup final at Wembley
Tales of players who "almost signed" become the stuff of folklore among football fans but as Carrick has revealed he certainly was one that got away.
It is unlikely his presence would have changed the course of Pompey's demise, though, with the club still suffering after their decline from the Premier League years sitting in mid table in League One.