Sunday 4 December 2016

From Petr Cech to Thomas Muller – 10 stars Alex Ferguson missed out on as Man United boss

Published 22/09/2015 | 10:51

Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller

The 10 superstars Manchester United could have signed under Fergie.

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Goalkeeper

Petr Cech: Ferguson went to watch Cech in goal for Rennes in a game against Auxerre in 2003, but Ferguson considered him too young to deal with the Premier League's rough and tumble style. He duly went to Chelsea.

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Defence

Raphael Varane: Ferguson was on a train from London to Lille in 2011 to try and sign the French defender, and United thought a deal had been done. But Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid's technical director, stole in at the last moment to snatch him away for the Spanish club.

Midfield

Paul Gascoigne: Ferguson - who describes Gascoigne as the most talented English player he has seen since Bobby Charlton - was desperate to sign him for United in 1988 and tried to sell him the club by talking up their links to players from Tyneside, such as Bryan Robson, Charlton and Steve Bruce. But Tottenham's readiness to buy Gascoigne's mother a house in Gateshead trumped him.

Read more: 'I managed four world class players; Roy Keane wasn't one of them' - 14 things we learned in Fergie's new book

Lucas Moura: United offered £35million for the right winger - who was then playing for Sao Paulo in Brazil - but they were gazumped by Paris Saint-Germain, who spent £45million to secure him. "David [Gill, the chief executive] and I were just not prepared to go to those sorts of levels."

Samir Nasri: The French winger is name-checked among a list of players Ferguson admired but never managed to sign before he joined City in 2011.

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Strikers

Sergio Aguero: Ferguson reveals he had the chance to sign the Argentine striker before he joined Manchester City, but "the agent was demanding a price we were not prepared to pay".

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Didier Drogba: Ferguson and United travelled to watch Drogba play for Marseille, but the French club quoted them £25million to sign him. That was too much for United, but not Chelsea, who duly signed him.

Thomas Muller: The German striker was scouted as a 10-year-old playing for a German amateur club, but the day after having him watched by scouts, he was signed by Bayern Munich.

Read more: 'We agreed no player should be paid more than me' - Alex Ferguson reveals Man United salary clause

Robin van Persie: Attracted by reports of Van Persie's progress at Feyenoord, United scouted the then-16-year-old striker through Jim Ryan, one of their coaches. In the game Ryan watched, Van Persie got sent off and exchanged insults with supporters, prompting a club ban. United were deterred, and he eventually joined Arsenal.

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Gabriel Batistuta: The Argentina international was another player much admired by Ferguson, but who slipped through his fingers and preferred to remain playing in Italy.

Telegraph.co.uk

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