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Ronaldinho, Zidane, Shearer, Gazza, Kompany and David Silva: The Man Utd XI Sir Alex Ferguson ALMOST signed

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ronaldinho zidane shearer gazza kompany and david silva the man utd xi sir alex ferguson almost signed

SIR ALEX FERGUSON retired as arguably the greatest manager ever – certainly in Premier League history, at least.

The Scottish legend won 13 Premier League titles, including five FA Cups and two Champions League crowns.

 The best XI of players Ferguson narrowly missed out on
The best XI of players Ferguson narrowly missed out on

Despite boasting a host of stars, including David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville down the years, Fergie often worked wonders with less quality than his rivals.

You only need to look at what happened to the club after his retirement to see just how remarkable a coach he was.

But that’s not to say Ferguson didn’t try to make big moves in the transfer market.

We’ve taken a look at the best XI of players Man Utd nearly signed under Fergie, thanks to some help from talkSPORT

GK – Petr Cech

 Before becoming a Chelsea legend, Cech could have been a United star
Before becoming a Chelsea legend, Cech could have been a United starCredit: Getty Images – Getty

BEFORE he became a Premier League legend with a glittering spell at Chelsea and a late stint at Arsenal, the Czech stopper was a youngster at Ligue 1 side Rennes.

Aged just 19, Cech was starting to make a name for himself, with Ferguson watching him closely.

However, the then-Man Utd boss opted against a move as he believed him to be too young to stand between the sticks at Old Trafford.

Ferguson revealed: “I went to see Petr Cech when he was at Rennes. He was 19 at the time and I said to myself, ‘He’s too young’.”

In 2004, Chelsea made their move and the rest, as they say, is history.

RB – Philipp Lahm

 Philipp Lahm was once on the radar of Man Utd
Philipp Lahm was once on the radar of Man UtdCredit: AP:Associated Press

IN the 2003-04 season, Bayern Munich legend Lahm was shipped out on loan to Stuttgart to get some first-team experience – but still at a top level.

Man Utd took on the Bundesliga side in the Champions League that season and Lahm starred in a 2-1 win.

Able to play at right-back, left-back and central midfield, Ferguson was keen to sign him based on that one game, according to Lahm’s former Bayern coach Hermann Gerland.

Speaking about loaning Lahm out, Gerland revealed: “It was not easy to arrange. But at Stuttgart, Philipp could play in the Champions League.

“After three months he was the best player on the field against Manchester United.

“Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him in England, I think that says enough.”

CB – Vincent Kompany

 Kompany could have been a winner in the red of Manchester, rather than blue
Kompany could have been a winner in the red of Manchester, rather than blueCredit: Getty Images – Getty

THE Belgian star is a real Premier League legend, leading Man City to an unprecedented period of success in their history.

Kompany played a vital role in all four of their league triumphs – including his stunning, out-of-the-blue strike against Leicester to keep Liverpool at bay last season.

But things could have been so different, with then-Anderlecht ace Kompany top of Ferguson’s wish-list in 2004 – with the defender aged just 18.

The move never came to fruition though and the Belgian ended up at Man City – via Hamburg – in 2008.

Watching him have such success must be a bitter pill to swallow for United fans – especially as it came for their rivals.

CB – Paolo Maldini

 Fergie once chased Paolo Maldini, but was turned down by his dad
Fergie once chased Paolo Maldini, but was turned down by his dad

NOW stuck with the likes of Phil Jones and Eric Bailly, Man Utd could have once had arguably the greatest defender of all time on their books.

But in truth, it was never going to happen – thanks to Maldini’s dad, Cesare.

Ferguson approached him during an event in Italy and mentioned he was a big fan of his son but was swiftly rebuffed.

Fergie recalled: “Well I did try. But when I met his father he was quite formidable. I got a shake of the head. That’s all I got.

“He did say ‘my grandfather was Milan, my father’s Milan, I’m Milan and my son is Milan. Forget it’.”

LB – Bixente Lizarazu

 Bixente Lizarazu was once the top left-back on the planet
Bixente Lizarazu was once the top left-back on the planetCredit: Reuters

AT the time the best left-back in the world, Lizarazu was once being lined up to replace Denis Irwin at Old Trafford.

But Bayern Munich were adamant their star man wouldn’t be going anywhere while at the peak of his powers.

Lizarazu revealed: “I had the chance, I think in about 2001 or 2002, to go to Manchester United, but it stopped very quickly as Bayern said no.

“Ferguson was keen to sign me and United had talks with Bayern, but Bayern said there was no question that I’d be leaving and so I was staying with them.

“I was very happy in Munich, but Manchester United did try.”

CM – Paul Gascoigne

 Ferguson had his head turned by a young Gazza during his Newcastle days
Ferguson had his head turned by a young Gazza during his Newcastle daysCredit: Getty Images

JUST a year into his reign at Man Utd, Ferguson was left in awe of one man… Gazza.

During a game against Newcastle, Gascoigne schooled Norman Whiteside, Bryan Robson and Remi Moses – midfielders Fergie described as “all great players”.

But they were made to look like Sunday League players by Gascoigne’s artistry, with Fergie saying “he just tore them apart”.

Ferguson was later left devastated after Tottenham beat him to the punch – after they bought Gazza’s parents a new house to sweeten the deal.

The Scot recalled: “I’m lying by the pool when there is a tannoy for me to take a call.

“It was [chairman] Martin Edwards telling me Tottenham had [signed him instead] by buying Paul’s mum and dad a house in the north east.”

CM – Zinedine Zidane

 Ferguson was worried Zidane and Cantona would not be able to play together
Ferguson was worried Zidane and Cantona would not be able to play together

ERIC CANTONA or Zinedine Zidane? That was the big conundrum for Ferguson.

With Cantona already on the books, both the French forward and then-chief scout Les Kershaw recommended Zidane to the Scot boss.

But, feeling they both played the same position, Ferguson opted to stay loyal to his own star.

Former chairman Edwards recalled: “When Zidane was at Bordeaux, Les Kershaw, the chief scout, was telling me we should be interested in him and I mentioned it to Alex.

“Alex said that Eric had also mentioned Zidane to him but Alex felt Zidane played in the same position as Eric.

“Having gone over to France to persuade Eric to re-sign for us, after the Crystal Palace incident [with Cantona banned for eight months for his kung-fu kick], he felt that, if he had brought Zidane in, it may have affected Eric’s position, so he stuck with Eric.”

 Arsenal have missed out on some of the world's biggest stars other than Xabi Alonso

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Arsenal have missed out on some of the world’s biggest stars other than Xabi Alonso

RW – Arjen Robben

 Arjen Robben met with Man Utd during his time at PSV
Arjen Robben met with Man Utd during his time at PSVCredit: AP:Associated Press

DURING his time at PSV Eindhoven, before he became one of the most-feared wingers on the planet at Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, Robben thought he was destined for a move to Old Trafford.

The Dutch legend insisted he would have moved to United in a heartbeat, but they went cold on him, before the Blues swooped.

Robben recalled: “I had a very good conversation with [Ferguson] over dinner in Manchester and we spoke about football and life.

“I also went and had a good look around the training ground and everything was good.

“But after I went back to PSV nothing happened. There was no real contact and the deal didn’t happen.

“PSV were also negotiating with Chelsea at that time, so maybe they offered PSV more money? I don’t really know.

“I spoke to Chelsea and I liked their plans. We had one meeting and everything was done pretty quickly.

“Had Manchester United offered me a deal straight after I met them, I would have signed there, but it didn’t happen and I’ve got no regrets.”

CAM – David Silva

 David Silva was once tipped for a move to United but Fergie was unsure
David Silva was once tipped for a move to United but Fergie was unsureCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

MAN UTD and Ferguson were keen on the City legend during his time at Valencia.

But Fergie confessed he wasn’t a fan of his “attack-only” No10 style, suggesting he wouldn’t have known how to fit him into his system.

Ferguson revealed: “We watched Silva a lot when he was at Valencia. And the other player they had, the same type, years before it, played in that No10 role.

“My problem with that was you have to be very, very good to play in that position, because there’s no defensive duties for them.

“So if you’re wanting to be really successful, everyone has to do their turn, has to work, you know?

“So I had a difficulty with that. But, in the end, of course, there’s the greats.

“You could say Lionel Messi was a No10 type, [Diego] Maradona, some fantastic players, and I don’t dispute that.

“But at United we always found it difficult. The kind of No10 I used came from my experience as a footballer.”

LW – Ronaldinho

 Man Utd wanted Ronaldinho while he was still at PSG
Man Utd wanted Ronaldinho while he was still at PSGCredit: Getty

A YEAR on from his 2002 World Cup heroics, still aged just 23, Ronaldinho could have been a United player.

Then at Paris Saint-Germain, the Brazilian was being lined up to replace David Beckham on the wing after he was sold to Real Madrid.

Clearly still bitter about the failed move, Ferguson blamed then chief executive Peter Kenyon for dropping the ball.

Fergie claimed: “There was a problem with his brother, who was his agent.

“But Peter Kenyon, who was chief executive then, didn’t get the job done.”

ST – Alan Shearer

 Alan Shearer stayed loyal to Blackburn owner Jack Walker and snubbed United
Alan Shearer stayed loyal to Blackburn owner Jack Walker and snubbed UnitedCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

MAN UTD wanted Shearer. Shearer wanted Man Utd.

The only problem was then-Blackburn owner Jack Walker, according to ex-United chief Edwards.

In his autobiography, he wrote: “Shearer had been to Alex Ferguson’s house, spoke to him and assured him he wanted to come.

“The problem, I think, was with the chairman of Blackburn, Jack Walker, who was not a great fan of Manchester United, (we were) local rivals, both Lancashire clubs.

“He did not want Alan Shearer to come to Manchester United.

“Shearer was quite close to Walker, who was like a father figure to him, and I don’t think Alan wanted to upset him by coming to United.

“And I’m not sure Jack would have let him come anyway, whereas he was happy for Alan to go to Newcastle, I don’t think that was a threat to him.”

Fergie’s almost XI is mouth-watering but how does it compare to the team Arsene Wenger nearly assembled at Arsenal?

Sir Alex Ferguson smiles after Manchester United win

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Crystal Palace launch £25m bid for Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster including £37m buy back clause

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crystal palace launch 25m bid for liverpool striker rhian brewster including 37m buy back clause

Crystal Palace have launched a £25 million bid for Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster as a host of Premier League clubs battle it out for his signature.

Palace’s bid is comprised of £19m plus £6m in add ons, while there is also a £37m buy-back clause as part of the deal. 

That would mean Liverpool have first refusal on Brewster if Palace decide to sell the striker in the future. 

Crystal Palace have emerged as the favourites to sign Rhian Brewster after making £25m bid

Crystal Palace have emerged as the favourites to sign Rhian Brewster after making £25m bid

Brewster is highly rated by Liverpool but the club can't offer him regular first team football

Brewster is highly rated by Liverpool but the club can’t offer him regular first team football

The striker missed a penalty during a rare appearance in Community Shield defeat to Arsenal

The striker missed a penalty during a rare appearance in Community Shield defeat to Arsenal

Brewster is in demand after scoring 11 goals in 22 appearances during a loan spell at Swansea City last season, which included several stunning strikes.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is an admirer of Brewster’s talents but can’t promise him regular minutes with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah his first choice attacking trio.

Klopp handed the 20-year-old a rare substitute appearance in extra-time during the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal, but Brewster missed his penalty in the shoot-out.

That could now be his last appearance in a Reds shirt, with Liverpool accepting that his departure may offer the best solution for all parties.  

Brewster is in demand after scoring 11 goals in 22 games during a loan spell at Swansea

Brewster is in demand after scoring 11 goals in 22 games during a loan spell at Swansea

Klopp is an admirer of 20-year-old but may have to sell him to balance books after signings

Klopp is an admirer of 20-year-old but may have to sell him to balance books after signings

Klopp may also have to raise cash after the club spent £66m on Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota last week, with Brewster one of his most saleable assets.

The Reds have been frugal in the transfer market in recent summers prior to their recent outlay and will be wary of balancing the books as Premier League clubs continue to play behind closed doors.

 Liverpool will hope Palace’s opening offer will spark a bidding war between Premier League clubs, with Sheffield United also keen on the striker. 

Reports elsewhere have also credited up to four other top flight teams with an interest in Brewster, with Newcastle United and Brighton reportedly considering bids and Fulham harbouring hopes of a loan deal.

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Chelsea in talks with PSG over selling Tiemoue Bakayoko as Blues demand £32m transfer fee for midfield flop

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chelsea in talks with psg over selling tiemoue bakayoko as blues demand 32m transfer fee for midfield flop scaled

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN have made contact with Chelsea about taking £40million flop Tiemoue Bakayoko off their hands.

The Blues are desperate to offload the French midfielder who has failed to make any impression since moving to Stamford Bridge three years ago.

Bakayoko isn't in Frank Lampard's plans

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Bakayoko isn’t in Frank Lampard’s plansCredit: Getty – Contributor

AC Milan have been trying to push through a deal for the 26-year-old but have failed to come up with a package to satisfy Chelsea.

And now PSG have declared an interest and have proposed taking Bakayoko on loan this season with the option of making it a permanent move next summer.

Chelsea value the midfielder at £32m – and are seeking a £4.6m loan fee with the remaining £27.4m to be paid as the full transfer fee.



Milan have said they have no problem with the loan figure, but say they are only prepared to pay a further £18.3m in a year to seal a permanent deal.

That is not acceptable to the Blues, who are looking to claw back more of the money they paid Monaco for his services in 2017.

But if PSG were to come up with a deal which goes anywhere close to their valuation, then the London club would be happy to do business before the window shuts on October 5.

Bakayoko initially arrived at Stamford Bridge to much fanfare, having helped Monaco to the Ligue 1 title and Champions League semi-finals in 2017.

But he struggled to make an impact as Antonio Conte’s champions slumped to a disappointing fifth-placed finish.

Bakayoko represented AC Milan on loan in the 2018-19 season

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Bakayoko represented AC Milan on loan in the 2018-19 seasonCredit: AFP or licensors

The Frenchman did help the Blues to FA Cup glory that year as they beat Manchester United under the Wembley arch.

But that was his last competitive game for the club – although he did briefly resurface during pre-season in 2019.

Bakayoko has since represented AC Milan and AS Monaco while out on loan over the last two seasons.

Bakayoko helped Chelsea to FA Cup glory in 2018

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Bakayoko helped Chelsea to FA Cup glory in 2018Credit: Jamie McPhilimey – The Sun
Chelsea flop Bakayoko forgets his shirt number and mistakenly think he’s being subbed

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Dillian Whyte breaks down how he will beat Alexander Povetkin in blockbuster rematch fight after brutal KO loss

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dillian whyte breaks down how he will beat alexander povetkin in blockbuster rematch fight after brutal ko loss

DILLIAN WHYTE says he knows ‘exactly what to do’ to beat Alexander Povetkin in the November rematch.

The Brixton boxer was shocked to the core as he was knocked out cold by the Russian veteran on August 22.

Dillian Whyte gets his chance of revenge against Alexander Povetkin on November 21

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Dillian Whyte gets his chance of revenge against Alexander Povetkin on November 21
Dillian Whyte says he knows 'exactly' how to beat Alexander Povetkin in the rematch after he was KO'd in their first fight

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Dillian Whyte says he knows ‘exactly’ how to beat Alexander Povetkin in the rematch after he was KO’d in their first fightCredit: Mark Robinson Ltd

Whyte had earlier floored Povetkin twice and was comfortably ahead on the scorecards.

But the former WBA heavyweight champ delivered a brutal fifth-round uppercut that flattened Whyte to end the contest.

That saw Povetkin, 41, become only the second boxer to beat Whyte after Anthony Joshua stopped his big rival back in 2015.

The rematch will take place on November 21, and Whyte is in bullish mood as he plots his revenge.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the 32-year-old said: “It’s not a fight that I got a sustained beating for five rounds, or I was down on the scorecards or I was getting beat up or outclassed.

“It was one of those where I got caught with a punch, he set it up, used his experience and I got caught.

“Moving forward, it’s just correcting little technical things really. I had seven amateur fights and 29 pro fights, I am still learning and figuring things out, still adjusting to things.

“One of my strengths is I adjust to things in the fights as they go on, but this time I never had the chance to adjust. I got caught, and never had the chance to make the adjustment.

“Now we watch it back, re-evaluate, and I see the little adjustments I need to make. And to be honest, now I know exactly what I need to do.”

Sky Sports pundit and former boxing world champ Johnny Nelson believes the defeat could prove to be ‘a godsend’.

“I actually think it might be a good thing.

“Now, after being knocked out, other fighters will think that’s twice now at this level.

“That’s the same shot that he’s been knocked out with – I’ll have some of that.

“So that vulnerability makes him more enticing.

“I think for Dillian Whyte, him losing might actually be a godsend because when he was winning and winning and winning, people thought ‘nah, I don’t want any of that.’”

Dillian Whyte’s coach reveals incredible reaction to shock Povetkin KO that left him asking ‘What’s happened?’

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