Geremi explains United snub
By Dominique Antognoni
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
CHELSEA new boy Geremi has explained why he did not join Manchester United in the summer, and expressed surprise at the spending spree embarked upon by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.
The Cameroon international, a hit during a loan spell with Middlesbrough last season, was targeted by both Chelsea and United during the summer. Real Madrid were prepared to sell the versatile African, and Claudio Ranieri won the chase after previously bidding to sign the player in 2002.
"Yes, Manchester United were interested in me," Geremi told planetfootball.com.
"(Sir Alex) Ferguson always spoke well about me, but if I would have signed for Manchester, I would have had to fight for a place with Roy Keane. Frankly, I think that I have a good name myself, good enough to always be playing.
"When Chelsea bought me, I had no idea that they would build a team like this. I knew that they are a respectable team, who finished in fourth place last year. I knew a lot about Ranieri, even because he coached Valencia.
"I spoke with him, I already have a good relationship, and I love his kind of coaching because he speaks a lot with us.
"Only after I was bought did these other wonderful players arrive. I never dreamt of a team like this. I never saw something like this in my whole life."
Although he will miss Real, Geremi is pleased to have some stability after the temporary spell on Teesside.
"It was not a wonderful feeling, to always have the luggage ready to move elsewhere," he added. "It was quite tiring for me. Now is better as I have an idea about my future.
"When I arrived at Real, I was sure that I was in Heaven. Anyway, at Real, there are all the very big stars, and you do not have so much space for playing. When I arrived, the bosses were Sanchis, Hierro and Raul.
"I was lucky because Karembeu helped me a lot, told me what I have to do, when and how. If not, you cannot do something good for Real - you have the feeling you are a little boy who goes to a big school."
As for Chelsea, Geremi is confident about the new season.
"Veron, Joe Cole and Mutu are fabulous," he enthused. "I remember Veron from Italy, when I saw lots of time what he's able to do with the ball.
"We'll win a lot of things, I'm sure about that."