The Ivorian striker became a Stamford Bridge legend during his time with the Blues, and bowed out by scoring a dramatic late equaliser and the winning shoot-out penalty in the Champions league final win over Bayern Munich in Germany.
He said he wanted a new challenge after coming to the end of his Chelsea contract and signed for China’s Shanghai Shenhua – who play United in a friendly on Wednesday – but Ferguson said he would have been tempted by the thought of working with him at Old Trafford.
“The decision was his anyway – and he said if he was going to leave Chelsea he wouldn’t play for another club in England,” he told a press conference in Shanghai. “So that answered that question, but I could have been tempted.”
Ferguson added that he had been very impressed by United summer signing Shinji Kagawa’s performances on the tour, saying he had been quick to work out what was needed despite not yet being able to speak English.
Kagawa, who joined from Borussia Dortmund, has settled into life at his new club rapidly, the manager said, adding: “The thing that’s quite impressed me is that, every exercise we do on the training ground, he’s never needed it to be explained.
“After one demonstration, he joins in as if he’s known the language forever. Of course we know he doesn’t speak the language, but it isn’t a problem. It just goes to show that a good footballer can pick up exactly what’s needed. He’s been fantastic in that respect.”
His enthusiasm was mirrored by Rio Ferdinand, who said: “He’s been fantastic. He’s quick, he’s sharp, he has great awareness, he plays off both feet.
“I’m excited about playing with him and getting the season started. He’s been one of the better players in Germany for the last few years. I think he will bring that form to Manchester United. I think he’ll be a great acquisition.”