Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has revealed that the controversy surrounding his book ‘Head-to-Head’ gave the club a convenient excuse to sell him.
The Dutchman was signed by legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson from PSV Eindhoven in 1998 for a £10.6m deal becoming the then most expensive Dutch football player in history.
— Cleansheet (@Cleansheet) January 28, 2019
Stam won three Premier League titles, FA Cup and Champions League with United during his three-season spell at Old Trafford.
But in 2001 the Red Devils opted to sell Stam to Lazio on 16.5m transfer fee after a tabloid controversy surrounding his book titled: ‘Head-to-Head’.
And the then United manager Ferguson became embroiled in ‘tapping up’ allegations.
“At the time they [United] used it,” Stam told the Sky Sports Transfer Talk podcast.
“It was hard from out of the blue to say ‘okay we’re going to sell Jaap’ without any reason.”
“It was quite convenient maybe that the book was there at that time. I think it is better to just be straightforward in how it is.”
Stam was so surprised to hear a word from the manager that he is set to be sold despite having recently signed a new deal at Old Trafford.
— Official_footballmeal (@OFootballmeal) January 27, 2019
“We kept on winning, we knew teams were getting afraid of us,” says Stam. “You have the feeling that you’re becoming unbeatable. You don’t think about leaving, basically.”
“I was completely shocked as to how it was put in the papers because it was not how it was in the book,” Stam added.
“Fergie was very open, we just had a conversation and he expressed his feelings about me as a player basically.”
“He told me not to worry about it, that he’d had the same with his own book.”
Stam continued: “Everyone at United knew how I was as a person, how I am as a person.”
“I was never going to be on the bench for half a season and wait and wait for my opportunity again.”
“I would have played eventually, I know that. But at the time, how everything went, the relationship was not how it was and I made my decision to move on.”