Liverpool have missed out on several players over the years. They range from extremely talented players who went on to become great to those that Liverpool were lucky to avoid. It was hugely reported that Liverpool were on the verge of sealing a move for Sevilla’s Dani Alves, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest right-backs in the world, for just £7 million in 2006.
Sevilla chiefs refused to let Dani go at the price that Liverpool were offering and two years later, Alves joined Barcelona for £32.5 million, making him the third most expensive defender at the time. Liverpool were close to signing Simao Sabrosa too, who was prospering at Benfica. Instead of joining the Reds, he stayed back at Benfica going on to have a rather average career.
Some would say a serious bullet was dodged by Liverpool. The Scousers were also linked to German playmaker Mario Gotze, famous for scoring the World Cup winning goal, was heavily linked to Liverpool at the end of last season after it was reported that he had grown tired of sitting on the bench for the majority of his Bayern career. But Liverpool could not sign Gotze and the player fired his agent.
Following are the players who almost joined Liverpool:
1) Nemanja Vidic
Nemanja Vidic is widely considered to be one of the greatest centre-backs of all time, going on to win five Premier League titles and one Champions League title in his Manchester United career. But before he played for Manchester United, the Serbian was on his way to Liverpool.
The giant Serbian secured a move to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in 2006, although United wasn’t his first choice. In an interview with The Independent, the former defender said: "I was very close to Fiorentina, then Liverpool and after that Manchester United.”
He added: "Liverpool started the meetings, then they stopped. If I had stayed at Spartak Moscow, I would have had more money than at United because they offered me more money to stay. Professionally, to go to Europe, United was the best choice."
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was also hopeful of Liverpool securing the deal and went as far as to say: "Liverpool tried to buy him in January 2006 but our loss was United's gain. I'd have loved to have played alongside him and I'm sure we could have formed a solid partnership.
2) Michael Laudrup
Former Real Madrid and Barcelona legend Michael Laudrup was on the verge of securing a move to the mighty Liverpool in 1983, a period when the Dane was just a 19-year-old. Laudrup sat down with the official Liverpool website and said: "Yes, in 1983 I had the opportunity to sign for Liverpool. We actually agreed a deal and I came over with my father to talk to Liverpool's representatives. We agreed a three-year contract and went away thinking it was all done.
“But two weeks later they came back saying they wanted to offer me the same package, but for four years because I was still young and needed time to develop. I was disappointed because although nothing had been signed, we had an agreement.
"I decided not to join them and people thought I was crazy. This 19-year-old was turning down the great Liverpool. It wasn't really like that though. I just felt an agreement is an agreement and people should stick to what they decide. After that, I had other offers and went on to join Juventus. That's football for you."
Michael Laudrup then had very successful careers with Real Madrid and Barcelona, where he won five consecutive La Liga trophies, four with Barcelona and one with Real Madrid. Many great footballers have claimed Michael to be one of the greatest footballers at the time, making it a very tough pill to digest for Liverpool fans.
3) Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez signed for Arsenal in 2014, after finding it hard to nail a fixed spot in Barcelona’s lineup. He was signed for a figure estimated to be around £31.7 million, although Liverpool seemed keen on signing the Chilean forward.
After the sale of Luis Suarez, the Reds were filled with cash, that the club could have used to develop the squad, with Sanchez supposed to be the heir of Suarez. Then Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers said: "I manage the club how I want to but there were other conditions that meant that we could not get players that I wanted in."
He added: “The huge blow for us was we felt we were getting Alexis Sanchez. We thought Luis Suarez was going and he would have been the like for like replacement.”
He further added: "He would have been perfect for us, how aggressive he is and how he presses the game. If we had got Alexis in after Luis going, it would have been a smooth transition. Then we were bringing Rickie Lambert in alongside that.”
In the same transfer window, the Reds instead of pushing for the Chilean, opted to go for a cheaper alternative by signing troublemaker Mario Balotelli from AC Milan, who ended up having a season to forget after scoring just one goal in 16 games.
4) Gareth Bale
Liverpool were planning to secure a move for Gareth Bale way back in the mid 2000s when he broke into the Southampton squad. Bale was always thought to make it big someday and he couldn’t escape the eyes of then Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, who was particularly keen on signing the Welshman.
Former Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher said: “Bale has come so far since making his way at Southampton. When he broke into their team, Rafa Benitez looked at signing him for Liverpool.”
“Bale was playing as a left back then and Rafa didn't think he was any better than John Arne Riise, so he never pursued it. Clearly the Bale that Benitez now manages is a completely different prospect,” He said when comparing the Bale from Southampton to the Bale from Real Madrid.
Had Liverpool signed Gareth Bale from Southampton back then, we would most likely have had a very different Bale compared to the one which former Tottenham Hotspur coach Harry Redknapp molded the Welshman into.
5) Mario Gomez
Mario Gomez was inches from securing a move to the five-times Champions League winning team Liverpool in the winter transfer season of 2010/11. The centre-forward was in sensational form as he scored goals for fun in the German Bundesliga.
Jamie Carragher made a revelation about Liverpool’s failed attempts at signing the German striker by saying: “Gomez and [Andy]Carroll may have had contrasting fortunes in domestic football over the last few seasons, but their similarities can be underlined by the fact Liverpool almost signed the Bayern Munich striker before we moved for Carroll.”
He added: “The move for Gomez fell through at the last minute when Hodgson was Liverpool manager and since then Gomez has not stopped scoring.” A partnership of Luis Suarez with Mario Gomez would make any Liverpool fan lick his lips.
To make things worse, Andy Carroll scored 11 goals in 56 appearances for club and country and in the same span, Gomez scored 55 goals in 65 games.
6) Cristiano Ronaldo
Three-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was very close to joining the Scousers in the same season when he joined Manchester United. The Portuguese star did state that Liverpool was his preferred move and not United in 2003, showing how close the Reds were to signing arguably one of the greatest players of all time.
Then Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier admitted that he turned down the chance of signing the forward and the fans are left wondering what kind of impact Ronaldo could have had for the team.
The Madeira born forward found the back of the net 84 times in 196 appearances for Manchester United, winning three Premier League trophies, one FA Cup and a Champions League title.
At the time of him leaving Sporting CP, a teenaged Ronaldo said: "Liverpool are one of the best clubs in England and it would be a dream for any player to represent a club of such traditions.” He added: "I will have to hope they make an offer that is good for both Sporting and myself.”
The Madrid forward further said: "The English league is not one of my favourites, but it is very interesting. I think my way of playing can be reconciled in the Premiership. If a player has quality, then he can play anywhere.”