United moved for a 24-year-old Carrick after the Wallsend Boys star impressed over two seasons at White Hart Lane.
With Roy Keane having left the year before, the Red Devils found themselves in need of a central midfielder.
Then Spurs boss Martin Jol was adamant their star midfielder would be staying, but United and Ferguson had other ideas.
Speaking to ITV prior to Carrick’s testimonial, Ferguson said: “My first recollection of him was seeing him in the Youth Cup final for West Ham.
“We were looking for that central midfielder who could control the game and, of course, Michael moved to Tottentham.”
But when Ferguson did open negotiations with Spurs he was stunned by how much they were demanding. “I said ’18?!” Ferguson added. “They must be off their head!’.
“But it’s one of those situations if you want the player then you have to pay.
“His vision of seeing a forward pass is his great quality. There’s quite a lot of midfield players that are A to B passers, but when you got one who can penetrate with his passes and have a balance in terms of receiving the ball in, they’re worth their weight in gold.”