Jermaine Jenas has revealed that he rejected potential moves to Leeds United and Manchester United in order to move to Tyneside.
Newcastle signed Jenas in 2002 after the former England international had impressed for Nottingham Forest
Jenas told the Daily Star: “I sat down with my manager, he called me in on my day off, and he basically just went: ‘Look, we’ve had three offers in for you. Leeds have offered £5m, Newcastle £5m and Man United £3m.
“I thought that was weird, but basically he said: ‘(Sir Alex) Ferguson thinks it’s an honour to play for the club, therefore he’s only offering £3m.’
“I think they were kind of only doing the deal because I was hot property at the time – not because he genuinely wanted me.
“At United they were saying: ‘We’ll develop you and you’ve got all these star players to train with.’ But I didn’t want that. I wanted to be playing.
“Bobby didn’t stop ringing my phone – and David O’Leary was ringing me. So it was kind of like, which way do I go?”
A bubble waiting to burst
“Leeds were Champions League at the time, they had [Rio] Ferdinand, [Robbie] Keane, [Robbie] Fowler and so on – and it was closer to home.
“But my agent said: ‘You can’t go to Leeds. It’s going to fall apart. I promise you it’s not good there.’ Once I’d got to St James’ Park, the minute I pulled up to the stadium, I’d decided I wasn’t going anywhere else.
“It felt like the right place to be – and Bobby just sold it to me by making sure I knew I was going to be playing. I could have said no, gone to United and you might never have seen me.
“I might have gone into the reserves, got paid loads of good money and just been comfortable. I might not have been able to break through into that unbelievable United team of [Roy] Keane, [Nicky] Butt and [Paul] Scholes. I could have just gone missing.”