Wolves' Ruben Vinagre explains why he rejected Manchester United

Nuno Espirito Santo, the Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Wolverhampton and Bristol City at Molineux on September 12, 2017 in...

Ruben Vinagre's fine form at Wolves has piqued the interest of Everton, Arsenal and Man City - but he could have been a United player by now.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Portuguese defender Ruben Vinagre (R) vies with Manchester City's Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure during the English League Cup fourth round football match between...

Wolves fans would have wiped the sweat from their brow with relief when the Express and Star confirmed late last month that the Championship leaders have an exclusive option to sign left-back Ruben Vinagre when his loan from Monaco expires at the end of the season.

The 18-year-old is one of a number of loanees who moved to Molineux in the summer and, like Diogo Jota and Leo Bonatini, has emerged as a real stand-out performer for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

So much so that The Mail reported in October that Everton are tracking Vinagre while Manchester City and Arsenal have also been following his progress since he starred in Portugal’s victorious European Under-17 Championship campaign in 2016.

Spain's forward Jordi Mboula (L) vie for a ball with Portugal's defender Ruben Vinagre during the 2016 UEFA European Under-17 Championship final football match Portugal vs Spain in Baku on...

The teenager has told O Jogo (November 12th, page 44), however, that he came close to signing for another Premier League giant before swapping the illustrious Sporting Lisbon academy for Monaco two years ago.

“Yes, it is (true that I nearly signed for Manchester United),” Vinagre said. “United is a great club and a dream, like other big clubs in England and Spain.

"At the time, I was very focused on United because it was a great opportunity. But then the other proposals were studied and I, together with my advisors, thought that the best project for my development would be Monaco.”

Ruben Vinagre (L) of Wolverhampton Wanderers is challenged by Callum O'Dowda during the Sky Bet Championship match between Wolverhampton and Bristol City at Molineux on September 12, 2017...

Vinagre insisted that he is open to the prospect of playing under compatriot Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford in the future – but added that his only focus right now is on his current club Wolves.

Fortunately, the promotion favourites have first dibs on one of the most exciting Iberian talents around - which will come in handy as interest in the buccaneering left-back grows.

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