Seven big transfers that fell through after 20-year anniversary of Shearer’s Man Utd snub


Holly Thackeray | July 31, 2016

Seven transfer moves that never happened

There has been somewhat of a Twitter storm this weekend, as Coral ambassador Alan Shearer celebrated 20 years since his 1996 switch from Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle United, his hometown club, when he opted to join the Magpies instead of Manchester United.

Shearer famously arrived amid much fanfare at St James’ Park for £15m, then a world record fee, snubbing Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd in the process. It wasn’t the only time the Red Devils came close to snaring the legendary striker, however, as they also missed out when Shearer swapped Southampton for Rovers – reportedly failing to call him back!

So, with all this is mind, Coral look back at seven other big transfers that never came to fruition…

Robert Lewandowski (Blackburn Rovers)

Here’s another forward fork in the road for Blackburn, but this time one that left the Lancashire club wondering what could could have been.

Poland poacher and Bayern Munich leading man Lewandowski came curiously close to arriving at Ewood Park, but an Icelandic ash cloud reportedly grounded his plane following the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in 2010 – allowing Borussia Dortmund to step in. The rest is history. It’s a shame for Rovers, as he proved to be an explosive signing…

Luis Suarez (Arsenal)

Barcelona were the club that eventually made big news by bagging Liverpool’s controversial Uruguay international Luis Suarez in 2014 for a fee of around £75m.

However, most of the English press attention was still on Arsenal, who were left with egg on their face having attempted to trigger Suarez’s release clause the summer before. The Gunners reportedly made a rather insulting if humorous offer of £40m plus £1 after having a £35m bid rejected.

“What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”, read a Tweet from Liverpool owner John Henry at the time. Suarez went on to help Barca to a Champions League title plus two La Liga trophies, which should have given Wenger and co food for thought in future.

Robinho (Chelsea)

When it became clear that Real Madrid were willing to offload Brazil star Robinho in 2008, it was time for another Premier League transfer faux pas.

Heavily linked to joining former Samba Boys boss Luiz Felipe Scolari at Stamford Bridge, a deal was widely reported to be close. Yet, Chelsea appeared to jump the gun, as an incident occurred allowing fans to make a mock-up Blues shirt with Robinho on the back. Madrid were supposedly incensed – allowing rivals Manchester City to swoop in and sign the forward at the last minute.

Even Robinho seemed confused as to who he’d signed for, stating at a Man City conference: “On the last day, Chelsea made a great proposal and I accepted.” Oops.

Paul Gascoigne (Manchester United)

Here is another near miss, but one that proved a little more wistful, as Tottenham pipped Man Utd to then England sensation Gascoigne back in 1988.

The Red Devils (3/1 with Coral to win the Premier League) believed the Newcastle United man’s signing was in the bag, allowing gaffer Ferguson to go on holiday, only to find out Spurs had swept in with a deal clincher: a house for the Gascoigne family and… a sunbed for the player’s sister.

It remains a missed opportunity which many believed could have perhaps influenced Gascoigne’s career path had he instead played under authoritative Ferguson. We’ll sadly never know…

Zinedine Zidane (Newcastle United)

Speaking of magical Magpies players, World Cup winner with France and now Real Madrid manager Zidane may well have been one – but Tyneside team Newcastle (7/4 favourites to win the Championship) infamously passed up the chance to sign the playmaker from Bordeaux.

Supposedly offered the chance to snare him for as little as £1.2m, the Magpies opted against, and Zidane eventually ended up inking a deal with Italian giants and other black and white stripes of Juventus before becoming a Real Galactico and one of the greatest to ever grace the game. Still, the Toon Army had Shearer to hail!

Alfredo Di Stefano (Barcelona)

Going further back in history, but sticking with greats, Di Stefano is an iconic player overwhelmingly associated with Los Blancos – yet it could have been so different in Spain, had he instead joined bitter rivals Barcelona. Biggest transfer blunder?

The Blond Arrow’s rights were owned by Argentine big-guns River Plate in 1953, with Barca approaching them to sign dangerman Di Stefano, while Real supposedly spoke to his playing club Millonarios instead. A proposal was put forward for the Buenos Aires-born forward to play a season with each club, with Barca then backing out – or so the story goes…

Ferenc Puskas (Manchester United)

Another Los Blancos striking legend in Puskas almost also ended up elsewhere, with Man Utd stand-in manager Jimmy Murphy’s plans to poach him scuppered due to language barriers and FA rules on foreign players.

At age 31, prolific Puskas’ fitness and longevity were also a worry to clubs across the continent, allowing Real to sneak in and snatch the Hungary hitman. He stayed put in Spain for eight seasons, scoring 156 goals in 180 league games. Enough said.


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