As we begin our countdown to the 31st of August (the day when the window slams shut), let us have a look at some of the transfers that never happened, even after nearing completion!
Paul Gascoigne to Manchester United :
In his early days as a Toon, Gazza won the FA Young Player Award in 1988. Clubs across the country stood up and took notice of the latest sensation on the blocks. It eventually boiled down to Tottenham and Manchester United, who were involved in a direct tussle to sign the prodigy. The then newly appointed Alex Ferguson spoke with ‘Gazza’ and received an assurance from the player that he would join the ranks at Old Trafford.
Later, when the United manager returned from holiday, he was greeted with the news that Newcastle had accepted Tottenham’s bid for Gascoigne, and that the player had indeed agreed to join the Lilywhites. The reason for the snub, as explained later was that Gascoigne’s family was also given a house in London by the club – which proved to be the sweetener for the youngster. Recently, Sir Alex went on record saying had Gazza joined United, he would have a better chance of winning medals and making a name for himself.
Roy Keane to Blackburn Rovers :
Blackburn Rovers, during that period, were injected with a considerable influx of cash by their owners. After pipping Man United to the signing of Alan Shearer, they were confident of wrapping up a deal for Nottingham Forest starlet Roy Keane before United. The Irish midfielder was labelled as the ‘hottest prospect in football’ of that time. Understandably, Kenny Dalglish (the then Blackburn Boss) agreed a £4m fee with Forest.
On the eve of the completion of the deal, Fergie rang up Roy Keane personally, and invited the youngster to play for him at Old Trafford. And the rest as they say, is history. Two weeks later, Keane was presented as a Man United player at Old Trafford. So, Fergie did finally take his revenge against Dalglish. It was the turn of the Blackburn boss to remain red-faced.
Alfredo Di Stefano to Barcelona :
The transfer market is a funny place to be. One could well be swayed to ‘greener pastures’ during the final stages of a deal. This was the case with Di Stefano, and his eventual transfer to Real Madrid. After the players went on strike in Argentina (his birthplace), Di Stefano moved to Colombia to weave his magic. A flurry of goals, accolades and titles followed. Spanish giants Barcelona were notified about his prowess, and they wasted no time. A fee was agreed, and the player arrived in Spain. Everything was expected to be concluded smoothly, and Di Stefano would soon be seen in the colours of the Balugrana.
However, a complicated network of agreements over the player’s ownership, and some obstacles during negotiations saw Real Madrid scupper the deal, and eventually sign Di Stefano. After an appeal was made to the FIFA working committee, a compromise was struck whereby the player would be shared by the two clubs – One season at a time. However, this came as too much of an embarassment to the Catalonians, and the deal was subsequently cancelled, allowing Madrid to assume full ownership of the player – who was central to their formidable European run in which they won the European Cup five seasons in a row, right from it’s inception in 1956.
Ronaldinho to Manchester United :
In the aftermath of the sale of United’s posterboy David Beckham, Fergie dipped into the market to find a suitable replacement for the winger. Ronaldinho, who at that time donned the PSG colours, was shortlisted as the most suitable replacement, and Fergie moved quickly to sign the teenage Brazilian. However, Peter Kenyon (the then CEO) allowed a deal that was ‘as good as done’ to fall through, allowing Barcelona to sign the player. (Ironically, the Catalunyan club had lost out to rivals Real Madrid in signing the departing David Beckham.)
Taking a look at the scheme of things, if Beckham did move to Barcelona, Manchester United would have snapped up Ronaldinho, whereas Madrid would probably have to pay a lot lesser than they actually did for acquiring the Portugese sensation, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Probably one of the most protracted transfer sagas of recent history, Eden Hazard left behind a long list of clubs in his decision to join the European Champions – Chelsea. All clubs mentioned in the heading did express their desire to sign the Belgian Playmaker at some point of time during last season, or even before. Scouting trips, transfer inquiries and media hype added to the spice in the saga.
Sir Alex Ferguson was also spotted in France in one of the league games of Lille. Arsene Wenger made no secret about his desire to sign Hazard. Patrick Vieira was also spotted in the stands in one of Lille’s games. However, Hazard broke a million hearts when he announced on Twitter that he would be joining the burgeoning Belgian contingent at the Bridge, come the summer of 2012.
Sour grapes, anyone?
Drop in with your comments below. What are the 5 transfers, according to you, that happened and yet did not take place?