*Reject all offers*
Anyone who is synonymous with Freddy Adu and Football Manager will be able to identify with that.
The pocket-sized forward was a must-buy in the early years of the popular simulation management game.
Adu’s in-game stats were incredible to say the least, tearing apart defences in MLS, the Premier League, and beyond.
He burst onto the scene at just 14, becoming the youngest-ever American to sign a major league professional contract with DC United.
Adu also bagged himself a mega-money deal with Nike, before landing himself a trial with Manchester United at the age of 16.
Sir Alex Ferguson was a big fan of Adu’s talents, but a move never materialised.
“Freddy has done all right. He is a talented boy. He’ll go back to the US and we’ll keep a check on him. When he is 18, we will have to assess what we can do next,” Fergie said at the time.
Sadly for Adu, his career fell flat after all the early hype surrounding him.
It appeared he was still on the right track when he signed a deal with Portuguese giants Benfica in 2007.
However, he made just 11 appearances in four years at the club, spending time on loan at Monaco, Belenenses and Çaykur Rizespor.
Adu returned home to MLS in 2011 with Philadelphia Union, but once again failed to make any sort of impact and was subsequently released having scored just seven goals in 35 appearances.
A seven-month stint in Brazil with Bahia was also without success, before bagging himself a trial with then Championship side Blackpool.
While on trial with the Seasiders in February 2014, Adu addressed his widely-recognised reputation on Football Manager in an extended interview with the club’s YouTube channel.
“I get a lot of tweets with people calling me a Football Manager legend and I’m like ‘damn, I wish it was like that in real life’” he joked.
“I haven’t played that game, but I have a lot of friends that have and they’ve told me about it, so that’s pretty cool.”
In 2015, Adu remarkably signed for his 12th professional club, linking up with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
That lasted just one season, with unsuccessful trials at both the Portland Timbers and Polish side Sandecja Nowy Sącz following during the 2017 campaign.
Adu was handed a new opportunity at the newly-formed Las Vegas Lights in 2018, but after one goal in just 14 appearances he was soon on his way out of the club.
Now 32 and club-less it looks increasingly unlikely the once teenage sensation, who Jamie O’Hara tried to sign during his days as Billericay Town boss, will get a foothold back in the professional game.
With that said, in an interview with ESPN in 2019 Adu maintained he wasn’t prepared to give up on his football dream.
“I’m still plenty young. I’m not ready to give it up,” he explained.
“Things haven’t gone the way that I would have wanted them to, obviously. But I love the sport too much to say I’m ready to give it up.”
To this day he still gets enquiries on Facebook, and occasionally through his agent, about his availability.
The early signs were very promising, but not every story has a happy ending.
It hasn’t been for the want of trying in Adu’s case, but sometimes in life you have to say enough is enough.