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Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of Manchester United‘s record of signing African players and expressed frustration that they haven‘t been more successful in the market for stars from that continent.

"I wish we could sign more African players, but somehow we don't seem to capture the ones we want to get," he was quoted as saying in The Vanguard.

And he spoke specifically of Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari, revealing:

"Essien was with us at 16 years of age, and Muntari. But we couldn't get work permits for them.

"Then they both went back to Ghana, and then Essien went to Bastia as a centre-half. He came to us as a centre-half way back then. And Lyon signed him as a centre-half and then made him a midfield player.

"Then Chelsea came for him and the price they were prepared to pay for him, we couldn't agree that kind of price."

Ferguson also discussed United's notorious failure to land Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel.

"There was also the situation with John Obi Mikel, who we fought hard to have but who chose to go to Chelsea in the end. And there was nothing we could do about that. So there's been cases where we have tried to get African players in the past and we've failed."

Ferguson added: "But we have a scout now in Ghana and we are trying to develop that part," he added.

"It's not easy because it's such a big continent. We also now have a scouting network in Angola and within a few weeks of that, they recommended Manucho. It is tough but we'll keep looking for the best players from all over the world, including Africa".

http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=797322
 

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fair play to ferige there are some really good african talent out there and im glad were looking there its just the stupid english work permits which we struggle to get yet in france and other EU countrys they have no problems at all i dont get it
 

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Really interesting article actually, i knew we had Muntari here when he was a youngster but couldnt get a work permit, however i was un-aware we had Essien :|
 

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its screwed. the england rules are that the country have to be in top 60 or 70 position i think. there was once a player from my country, singapore, went to notts county(league one or two team) to have trials and they wanted to sign him. he had the international caps. but singapore is in 117th position at that time, so they rejected it. its crap.
 

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Signing African players is a problem usually, because of the work permit problems.

But African football is on the up. There are some fantastic African players, so I think its a great idea to boost the scouting in Africa.
 

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Essien is probably the player i was most disappointed
that we didnt get in the few years and now that i've
read that he was here when he was young makes me
really sad!!!
 

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i'm realy interested....why couldn't we get a work permit for them?....and...we had a similar case with Freddy Adu...if you all remember..we had him 2 weeks for trials but couldn't get a work permit
 

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Amazing to think what we would of been like if we got essien, perfect replacement for roy keane imo. he would of loved it at united i think aswell. But yeah the system needs sorting with that continant, look what were having to go through just to play manucho, its a joke

Wazza1989 said:
i'm realy interested....why couldn't we get a work permit for them?....and...we had a similar case with Freddy Adu...if you all remember..we had him 2 weeks for trials but couldn't get a work permit
i think fergie actually turned adu down. he had no work permit troubles due to his time with dc united in the states but i think fergie knew he wasnt up to the premiership standard let alone united. his been a flop at benfica aswell. was excited when he was on trial but glad it never happened now :p
 

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yeah Adu was turned down. Sir Alex said that he still had time to develop and he wasn't ready yet. man work permits are really problematic....First Essien, Muntari and now Manucho ! Lets hope he joins the first team soon...
 
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