‘I discovered Manchester United wanted to sign me in a chip shop and thought it was a prank’

Following a series of impressive performances for Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, the defender started to attract interest from several English clubs, such as QPR and Southampton. However, against all odds, he sealed a move to Old Trafford in August 2012, putting pen to paper on a five-year contract.

The now 34-year-old, who plays for De Graafschap, thought the whole situation was a prank, so much so that he almost put the phone down on his agent, who was informing him of United&aposs interest in getting a deal over the line. They signed him for 5million and he made a total 28 appearances for the club, chipping in with two goals and three assists, before leaving in 2014.

More than a decade on from his arrival at Old Trafford, the former Netherlands Under-21 international has opened up about the moment he learnt of United&aposs interest, revealing he was in a chip shop with a group of friends. He said the chip shop went &aposupside down&apos, such was the scale of the celebrations in response to his news.

“I was eating a big portion of chips with some mates and my brother when I got this call from my agent,” admitted Buttner. “It was quite weird because a few weeks before, I had been looking at clubs of a completely different level in England. Southampton, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers.

“I was going to sign with one of those clubs, I thought. Now suddenly I was wanted by Manchester United?

“I thought it was a massive prank because when I had been visiting one of the other clubs, at one of the stadiums there was a Manchester United book and I said to my agent &apostake a picture of me with the book and we&aposll pretend I am in England to sign with Man United. I thought it would be a cracker because my friends knew I had gone to England.

“Then a week later my agent called me when I was in the chip shop and just said &aposAlex, it&aposs Manchester United.&apos I just thought, &aposf**k off&apos, but he was really serious. Everyone around me looked at me and wondered what was going on.