Sir Alex Ferguson has reflected on how Manchester United went about getting Nick Powell to join us this summer.
“We sent people to see him a few times after he started scoring a few goals,” he told the official site. “He actually first came on our radar a few years ago when he played against our youth team. But we watched him seriously from February. Mike Phelan went to see him a few times and so did our chief scout, Jim Lawlor. My brother Martin also went to see him against Torquay before I went for myself, with Mike, when Crewe played Aldershot. We were thinking things over. We’d seen a few other Premier League clubs there at the game – Everton, somebody from Arsenal, somebody from Chelsea, they were very keen on Nick, so we thought it was best to set the wheels in motion. When Mick and I went to watch Nick we came away and I said: ‘He’s definitely a player. There’s no doubt about that.’ We thought that if we waited until the play-offs the secret would be out, so to speak. All the TV cameras would be focussed on him and it might alert a few other clubs. Mind you, there were already quite a few interested. As well as Arsenal and Chelsea, we knew Manchester City were keeping tabs on him as well. So I phoned [Crewe director of football] Dario Gradi, told him we were keen and we started negotiating. We sorted the deal with the chairman and agreed we’d leave it until after the play-off finals. It was all in place a good 10 days beforehand. Nick’s agent told Nick after the match and then he came up to my house the next day and we got the deal done.”