Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign Chelsea starlet Ethan Ampadu for Manchester United

believed they were on the brink of signing Ethan Ampadu when he was just 12 years old, according to the .

The 17-year-old joined Chelsea last summer from Exeter and has cemented his status as one of the brightest prospects in British football.

Ampadu, the son of former midfielder and current Under-18s coach Kwame Ampadu, has already established himself as a regular member of Chelsea’s first team squad and has four senior Wales caps to his name.

It could have been a very different story, however, for Ampadu after he was reportedly spotted when Exeter Under-13s travelled to United in 2013 for a junior tournament.

Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was said to have been so impressed that he ordered the club’s then chief executive David Gill to conclude a deal having identified the teenager as ‘proper United player’.

Advertisement Advertisement

More:

Exeter’s former academy coach Simon Hayward said earlier this year: ‘In that visit to Manchester United there was a game going on with his age group, there were trialists from all over Europe.

‘Ethan played as a central defender, a central midfielder and a centre forward at different times in the game and, in my opinion, he was the best player on the pitch no matter what position he played in.’

Earlier this week it was revealed that England turned down the opportunity to secure Ampadu’s services before he committed his international future to Wales.

‘I haven’t seen a 14-year-old as good as Ethan. I actually phoned England to make it known that. I spoke to very relevant people and said you’ve got to get hold of this chap. He’s such a good player,’ former Exeter coach Paul Tisdale told 5Live.

‘[He’s] a player’s player. I did phone England when he was 14. I said ‘I’ve just seen this chap play, he’s 14, he just played in Exeter U18s, he’s four years younger, he’s played on a dreadful pitch with awful conditions and he’s played centre forward, centre midfield, sweeper all in the space of one game. He looks like Ruud Gullit and this chap you need to get for England’.

Advertisement Advertisement

‘I was told they had 12 players better, they were aware of Ethan and I said well ‘this chap just thinks correctly, he acts correctly, he makes good decisions’ and I was told that he takes too few touches.

‘They were looking for players who wanted to take more touches, which is actually his strength. He does things in one touch, two touch, he sees it early.’

More:

Advertisement Advertisement