Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly wanted to bring Chelsea starlet Ethan Ampadu to Old Trafford before retiring.

As per reports from Manchester Evening News, former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was intent on signing Ethan Ampadu from Exeter City, when the Chelsea wonderkid was just 12 years old.

The legendary Scotsman who retired after leading United to the Premier League title in the 2012-13 season, had watched Ampadu represent Exeter Under-13s during a junior tournament in 2013. And he was understood to be heavily impressed by the youngster’s abilities.

Exeter’s former academy coach Simon Hayward speaking of that performance from Ampadu, said earlier this year: “In that visit to Manchester United there was a game going on with his age group, there were trialists from all over Europe.

“Ethan played as a central defender, a central midfielder and a centre forward at different times in the game and, in my opinion, he was the best player on the pitch no matter what position he played in.”

Sir Alex is believed to have dubbed the then 12-year old Ampadu a ‘proper United player’ when he watched him in action and had lobbied former United chief executive David Gill to sign the player at the earliest.

Ampadu caught Sir Alex Ferguson's eye at a very young age (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Ampadu caught Sir Alex Ferguson’s eye at a very young age (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

However, the Scotsman went on to retire at the end of that season, along with Gill, with David Moyes and Ed Woodward replacing them respectively. And the change of guard meant that the teenage sensation slipped through the net.

Ampadu continued to make rapid strides with Exeter and became their youngest ever first-team player when he made his debut in a League Cup game in August 2016, at the age of 15 years 10 months and 26 days. He made his League Two debut a week later and went on to make 13 senior appearances for the club before joining Chelsea in the summer of 2017.

The 18-year old made his international bow for Wales last year under then manager Chris Coleman and was handed his competitive debut during the international break last week, as Wales beat Republic Ireland 4-1 in the UEFA Nations League.

Ampadu, who can play in the heart of the defence and as a defensive midfielder, has made seven appearances for the Blues’ first-team since joining them last year.

The Welsh international was heavily involved with the first-team during the pre-season under new boss Maurizio Sarri, but has failed to make the matchday squad even once so far in the 2018-19 season. The player is held in very high regard within the club and by the manager and has been tipped for a bright future.