John Cofie, a former player for Manchester United, made an appearance in court on Monday as he was charged with rape.
When Cofie, now 29, was barely 14 years old, Sir Alex Ferguson recruited him for the youth team and gave him a deal for £1 million.
Cofie and co-accused Nathan Stuart are accused of raping a woman in Trafford, Greater Manchester, in 2019.
Cofie signed in 2007 for the significant fee, and he is still good friends with ex-Red Devils players Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard.
But the Ghanaian-born player left United in 2013 without making a single appearance.
He retired two years ago and has since volunteered as a mentor for kids participating in a Lancashire soccer program.
Though Cofie has rejected the accusation, the trial is still going on at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.
English footballer John Erzuah Cofie, born in Ghana on January 21, 1993, once played as a forward.
At the age of 14, he left Burnley for Manchester United for a sum of £1 million, but he was unable to get into the first squad.
He was released by Manchester United after loan stints with Royal Antwerp, Sheffield United, and Notts County. In July 2013, he joined Barnsley on a free transfer.
Prior to joining Molde in August 2014, he never played for Barnsley’s senior team. He returned to England in March 2015 and joined Crawley Town.
In November 2015, he went to Wrexham. Cofie joined AFC Telford United in January 2016 and transferred to Southport in June of the same year.
Cofie, who was born in Aboso, Ghana, immigrated to England at a young age and has earned England under-17 caps.
Cofie signed up with Burnley as a young kid to start his football career.
In November 2007, Burnley turned down a £250,000 offer from Liverpool for Cofie, and he refused to train with the team again.
Cofie was acquired by Manchester United in November 2007 and joined their academy in July 2009 following renewed interest from Chelsea.
He kept playing for the junior team and tried to make it into the reserve team after agreeing to professional terms with United in 2010.
In order to obtain first-team experience, he was loaned to Belgian club Royal Antwerp in 2012.
Cofie committed to a one-year loan with League One team Sheffield United for the 2012–13 campaign the following summer.
Cofie scored his first goal for the team a week after making his debut for the team against Shrewsbury Town in the season opener.
Cofie’s return to Manchester United was made public on January 3, 2013, despite his professed intention to finish the season with the Blades.
Cofie signed a one-month loan agreement with Notts County in February 2013, moving to another League One team.
Cofie made his debut for County and scored in a 1-1 tie with Crewe Alexandra, however his contract was not renewed, and after seven games for County, he returned to United in March.
Cofie was let go by Manchester United at the end of the 2012–13 campaign after failing to make it into their first team.