Kevin-Prince Boateng reveals former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson turned down chance to sign him

18 Aug

Kevin-Prince Boateng has revealed Manchester United turned down the chance to sign him in 2013.

The 32-year-old would have been one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s final transfer targets before the Scot’s retirement six years ago.

Kevin-Prince Boateng has played for 12 different clubs during his career
Getty

Boateng claims Ferguson believed he was ‘a jack of all trades and master of none’.

And the Ghana international ended up joining Schalke after leaving AC Milan.

Boateng, who currently plays for Serie A club Fiorentina, told Goal and DAZN: “I am 32 years old now and I feel in good shape.

“I like the idea of playing as a false nine and have been considered a bit of a joker in the pack for years now.

“It can be an advantage, but also damaging to change roles all the time.

“Nobody knows that after Milan, I had the opportunity to join Manchester United, but Sir Alex Ferguson asked himself, ‘what position am I meant to play him in?’

“I was a jack of all trades in his view and master of none. The transfer was abandoned and I started to focus on being more specific in my approach.”

Boateng has remarkably played for 12 different clubs during his career, with his most recent spell coming on loan at Barcelona last season.

Boateng scored a stunner for AC Milan against Barcelona in 2012
Getty Images

And he wishes he’d had his current personality at a younger age: “Mentality is crucial,” Boateng added. “I started too late to really think about [my career]. Of course I regret that.

“As an 18-year-old, I would have needed an agent or a family to push me in the right direction. I would have liked that. But I had to fix everything myself.

“I know very well that I have also failed with my motivation, which has not always been 100 per cent there.

“If I would have had the absolute will, I would have been a starting XI player at Barcelona or would have played 10 years for Real Madrid or Manchester United.”

Barcelona signing Kevin-Prince Boateng is a shock but unlikely transfers have worked out well for the Catalans recently

24 Jan

“Wait, they’ve signed Boateng? The Bayern Munich defender Messi left scrambling on the ground?”

“No the other one, Kevin-Prince Boateng.”

“That guy who was at Las Palmas? Are you joking?”

Sporting director Eric Abidal was keen to stress about Boateng’s ability

This conversation overheard in a Barcelona newsroom on Monday is one that likely played out in a number of different variations across the city, if not the world, as the news of the most surprising transfer of the season broke.

Yes, it was true; Barça’s masterstroke signing to provide back-up for Luis Suarez at centre-forward in the crunch stage of a season chasing the treble is a 31-year-old who isn’t even really a striker, and had been playing for a team in the bottom half of Serie A.

At his presentation as a Barça player on Tuesday Boateng looked as surprised with the news as everyone else. “I said to my agent I would run all the way to Barcelona, not take the plane. I’m very happy.

Boateng started up front for Barca on Wednesday night

“These couple of days have been incredible,” the former Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan star said – unable to hide his awe at the move which had just unfolded.

Boateng made every effort to sell himself as a selfless team player who has no delusions that he will be a starter (“I’m a realist,” he noted). Barcelona need to work hard to sell the move to their fans, too. Sporting director Éric Abidal talked up the attacker’s experience in big games and his knowledge of La Liga.

One journalist even reminded the duo that Boateng once nutmegged the Barça legend in the process of scoring a stunning goal against Barça in the Champions League.

But that was eight years ago, and Barcelona haven’t signed the Boateng of 2011.

Nor have they even signed the Boateng that shone briefly in La Liga, his time there now two seasons in the past.

On Tuesday Abidal and the forward made an effort to turn the questions over his advancing age into a positive, insisting that Boateng has matured into a true centre-forward at Sassuolo and therefore fits the profile of the back-up number nine the Blaugrana are in desperate need of, following the sale of Munir to Sevilla.

The 31-year-old is content to play back up to Messi and co.

The truth is though that while the deal is definitely left-field, it is no stranger than the other name doing the rounds in the Barcelona rumour mill in recent days, Carlos Vela.

If the choice of centre-forward is between a winger playing in MLS, or an attacking midfielder who has developed into a number nine in far more demanding Italy, Boateng suddenly doesn’t seem like the worst of options.

Both pursuits, and this week’s eventual signing, mean there are reasonable questions being raised in Spain about Barça’s transfer strategy in this winter window.

Kevin Prince Boateng's senior career

The former Ghana international has enjoyed a long and winding road to the top...

  • Hertha BSC – 2004 – 2007
  • Tottenham Hotspur – 2007 – 2009
  • Borussia Dortmund (loan) – 2009
  • Portsmouth – 2009 – 2010
  • AC Milan – 2010 – 2013
  • Schalke 04 – 2013 – 2105
  • AC Milan – 2016
  • Las Palmas – 2016 – 2017
  • Eintracht Frankfurt – 2017 2018
  • Sassuolo – 2018
  • Barcelona (loan) – 2019 –

Yet the same could be said about when they signed Paulinho, Arturo Vidal, or even Ousmane Dembele, who was in no way considered an adequate replacement for one of the top forwards in the world when Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain.

All of those moves have produced positive results for the Catalans, so perhaps the people making transfer decisions at the Camp Nou know something the critics and online experts don’t.

Although a somewhat controversial character, Boateng has undoubted potential

Even if Boateng and Barcelona deserve the benefit of the doubt, what may yet prove to be a missed opportunity however is the inability to find a player who more closely resembles Suarez in his style of play.

A reasonable case can be made for Boateng as a rotation striker to use in Copa del Rey and less challenging La Liga clashes, in order to give the Uruguayan some much-needed rest considering a persistent knee problem is still bothering the former Liverpool man.

He could also be a useful joker option from the bench in an effort to switch things up.

But should Barça’s first choice number nine pick up an injury that keeps him out of action, their replacement will be someone who seems likely to struggle to do the same job of pinning defenders back to make vital space for Lionel Messi, or playing one-touch with his back to goal to break down stubborn opposition.

Managing Suarez’s fitness will still be key for the Catalans in their pursuit of both the Champions League and retaining the Spanish title therefore.

On Tuesday night, he made his debut for the Blaugrana at Sevilla in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final – starting up front in place of Suarez.

Barca’s new signing will hope to enjoy his time at the Camp Nou more than his brother did in 2015

Unfortunately for Boateng and the travelling fans, it was Sevilla who hold the advantage heading into the second leg after producing a terrific second half performance. Strikes from Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder stunned the Catalans and leave them requiring a second leg comeback at the Camp Nou.

For the new signing from Sassuolo, the night was to end prematurely as Valverde turned to the experienced Suarez in search of a goal, but the game ended in a 2-0 disappointment.

Barcelona confirm surprise loan signing of Kevin-Prince Boateng from Serie A club Sassuolo until end of season

21 Jan

Kevin-Prince Boateng has joined Barcelona on loan until the end of the season from Italian side Sassuolo.

The La Liga giants confirmed the signing on Twitter on Monday evening and revealed more details about the deal.

Kevin-Prince Boateng has joined Barcelona on laon

The former Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth midfielder failed to impress in the Premier League and his signing to Barcelona has come as a surprise to many.

Spurs’ former sporting director, Damien Comolli, said the signing of Boateng was his “most expensive mistake”.

The 31-year-old will join the current La Liga leaders for the remained of the 2018/19 season and the deal includes an option to buy him for £7million.

The loan fee is believed to be in the region of £1.75million.

He will be presented to fans at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.

Boateng only joined Sassuolo over the summer, and has scored four goals in 13 appearances to date.

His previous spell in La Liga was a successful one with Las Palmas in the 2016/17 campaign.

The quick and dynamic forward hit double figures in his 28 appearances for the Spanish outfit.

Boateng’s colourful career has already seen him play for the likes of Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and AC Milan.