London: Owen Hargreaves has revealed he offered to play for Manchester United for free before finally accepting that his injury nightmare would bring an end to his miserable spell at Old Trafford.
Hargreaves joined United for £17 million from Bayern Munich in 2007, but managed just 39 appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson's side over four seasons as he battled persistent knee problems.
Even when the England midfielder made his comeback against Wolves last season, he was forced off with a hamstring injury only minutes into the game and United decided to release the 30-year-old at the end of last season.
Hargreaves tried everything he could to persuade Ferguson to let him stay with the Premier League champions and even agreed to play without any pay.
"At one stage I did offer to play for nothing this season, just to stay on," Hargreaves told the Daily Mail. "But they said, 'You don't want to do that' and they were probably right."
"I don't blame them for letting me go. I can understand it. There comes a point when you have to say this hasn't worked out. The game has moved on. See you later, all the best."
Hargreaves has travelled the world to receive treatment on his knee, and famously published videos on YouTube to try to demonstrate his fitness to play.
He insists he used the internet because he does not employ an agent and found it to be the easiest way to pass information to clubs who might be interested in him.
"It ended up on YouTube because the files were too big to email to specific people, specific clubs," he said.
"So I put them on YouTube so they could see it. I know it became a bit of a story when people found it in the public domain but I don't really care. No big deal."
The videos seem to have worked, however, as Hargreaves has now attracted interest from Premier League club West Brom and he believes he can play his way back into England contention once he does sign for a club.
"I'm going to blow people away," he said. "I'm coming back believing I can return to the level I was at before. My body feels great and my knees are perfect."
"I've just got this huge chip on my shoulder because I've been out for three years and people think I'm dead and buried."
"But right now I'd like to think I can play 40 games this season and with the right care, I believe I can train every day. I hope to be back in the England side for the European Championships next summer. You have to have ambition."