£5m Newcastle United signing wanted Leeds United move after rejecting Manchester United

Former Newcastle United midfielder Jermaine JenasFormer Newcastle United midfielder Jermaine Jenas
Former Newcastle United midfielder Jermaine Jenas | Getty Images
Leeds United's financial woes were about to kick in when Jermaine Jenas arrived at St James' Park in 2022

Jermaine Jenas has revealed he wanted to join Leeds United before a last-minute U-turn took him to St James’ Park.

In the early 20000s, the Whites were flying high in the upper echelons of English football. They had also enjoyed a Champions League campaign that saw them reach the semi-final before being knocked out by Valencia.

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Stars like Rio Ferdinand, Jonathan Woodgate, Robbie Fowler and Harry Kewell graced the Elland Road turf but financial struggles soon crippled the club. Ironically, Newcastle pipping Leeds to a top-four spot in 2001-02 signalled the start of their monetary meltdown.

Jenas moved to Tyneside from Nottingham Forest that summer but his sights were initially set elsewhere. Speaking to the Peter Crouch podcast, the former Toon midfielder opened up about when clubs were clawing for his signature in 2002.

“He (Paul Hart, Forest manager) said we have had three offers on the table,” he began. “Sir Alex Ferguson has rang and he’s basically said we’ve bid £3million and not a penny more because it’s an honour to play for the football club.

“David O’Leary has rung from Leeds, they have bid £5million and Newcastle have bid £5million and the car is going to be here in an hour. So I’m in the car from Nottingham to Newcastle and I’m saying to my agent that I want to go to Leeds and I knew Rio (Ferdinand) as I’d bumped into him a couple of times out, as you could imagine!

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“Rio was there, Fowler was there and the Champions League stuff was just kicking off at the time. Paul Hart’s son was my agent and said ‘You’re not going to Leeds, it’s going to fall apart’.

“United was the only one I said no to straight away because I wanted to play. I looked at their midfield and they had Veron, Scholes, Giggs, Roy Keane and Becks.”

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