‘Why do you want to sign Zidane when we’ve got Tim Sherwood?’


Paris Saint-Germain striker Mauro Icardi is reportedly set to turn down a move to Newcastle because his wife wants to stay in Paris.

The Magpies have been linked with a host of big names after their £305million takeover was finally completed.

Some of football’s biggest icons could have had very different career paths

Some of football’s biggest icons could have had very different career paths

Kylian Mbappe and Raheem Sterling have both been touted with unlikely moves before reports of a more credible swoop for Icardi emerged.

However, the out-of-favour Argentine striker’s agent insists the player and his wife have no plans to leave the French capital.

Gabriele Giuffrida told Gazzetta: “Leaving Paris is not in Mauro and Wanda’s plans, it’s the last thing they want. I don’t see Mauro joining another club soon.”

Not wanting to change clubs for family reasons is not the strangest reason in the book compared to some other botched transfers.

But what are some of the more unusual explanations for why Premier League sides couldn’t get a deal over the line? talkSPORT.com takes a look…

Icardi and his wife Wanda rejected the idea of leaving Paris for Newcastle

Icardi and his wife Wanda rejected the idea of leaving Paris for Newcastle

Zinedine Zidane

In 1995, Blackburn Rovers were on the crest of a wave, with owner Jack Walker’s dream realised.

Rovers beat Manchester United to the title and a bright future seemed to be ahead of them with Zinedine Zidane on Kenny Dalglish’s wishlist.

Zizou was impressing in France with Bordeaux and emerging on the international scene when Blackburn made their move.

Christophe Dugarry was also part of a potential deal for the Ewood Park outfit as they looked to complement Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton.

Blackburn owner Walker, though, had other ideas and despite the duo flying to the club for talks, they were never signed.

“Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?”, was what Walker reportedly said about the transfer.

Zidane and Dugarry spent another campaign with Bordeaux before joining Juventus and AC Milan, respectively.

Zidane, a future World Cup winner, almost signed for Blackburn Rovers

Getty

Zidane, a future World Cup winner, almost signed for Blackburn Rovers

Virgil van Dijk

Neil Warnock almost signed the Liverpool centre-back only for Crystal Palace to pull the plug on a deal due to fears he lacked pace.

The Middlesbrough boss wanted to bring Van Dijk to Selhurst Park from Celtic in 2014 but the deal was blocked.

“Van Dijk – I’m delighted he’s playing like he is,” said Warnock.

“We could have bought him at Palace for £6million but my chief scout told me he was too slow. I think he’s still in a job as well!”

Warnock missed out on the chance to sign Van Dijk when he was a Celtic player

Warnock missed out on the chance to sign Van Dijk when he was a Celtic player

Michael Essien

The Chelsea great had been on trial at Burnley as a teenager after impressing for Ghana in the Under-17 World Cup.

But the Lancashire club passed on signing him after refusing to budge on their policy of paying more than £60-a-week for an apprentice.

In 2009, former Burnley chairman Brendan Flood said in The People: “I discovered Michael Essien had been on trial here for a few days.

“One of the best players in the World Cup – and we hadn’t signed him.

“The club policy meant we wouldn’t pay an apprentice more than 60 quid a week.

“It smacked me in the face that the problem was a lack of communication within the club that stopped our youth guys making an exception to the rule.”

Essien became a cult hero at Stamford Bridge but could have made his name at Burnley

Getty Images – Getty

Essien became a cult hero at Stamford Bridge but could have made his name at Burnley

Pep Guardiola

The Spaniard was a top midfielder, who spent most of his career at Barcelona, and has been even more illustrious as a manager.

Guardiola has dominated in the Premier League as a manager but English football never got to enjoy him as a player, though not for lack of trying.

Paul Jewell attempted to lure him to Wigan in his mid-30s while Stuart Pearce also wanted him at Man City but the Spaniard was deemed too old.

Speaking in 2018, he revealed the Latics’ attempts, but said: “I wasn’t good enough!

“That is the truth. I was old, really old as a football player. I knocked on the door, I tried to come here to play in English football as a player but I was not able.

“The same happened here at Manchester City when I came here with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever! I was not good enough.”

Guardiola spent over a decade playing for Barcelona and wanted a final challenge in England

Getty Images – Getty

Guardiola spent over a decade playing for Barcelona and wanted a final challenge in England

Robert Lewandowksi

Poland’s captain career could have been very different if the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland had never erupted.

Blackburn again had a deal all-but done to sign the now Bayern Munich sensation 11 years ago when he was making his name at Lech Poznan.

“I went with my chief scout Martyn Glover and it was quite a trip,” then-Blackburn boss Allardyce told talkSPORT.

“We were very impressed with the player, the chairman did a deal for about €8million with the club and he was due to fly over.

“The ash cloud started in Iceland and all flights got cancelled, so he couldn’t get on the flight.

“We were waiting for him at Manchester airport and then a week or two later he signed for Borussia Dortmund.

“I didn’t remember this until reading an article and Lewandowski brought it up. It just reminded me how close we came to one of the world’s top goalscorers.”

We came so close to seeing Lewandowski in the Premier League

We came so close to seeing Lewandowski in the Premier League

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The Arsenal striker scored a hat-trick against West Brom back in August and it so happens that he almost ended up banging them in for the Baggies.

Stuart White, a former club scout, recommended Aubameyang to the Midlanders back in 2011 after he impressed for Saint-Etienne.

“I had been to Dijon on a Friday night to watch one player in particular, a centre forward who didn’t impress me at all,” White told Planet Football.

“My ‘bonus game’ before flying home on the Sunday was Auxerre v Saint-Etienne on the Saturday night.

“Saint-Etienne drew the game 2-2, but Aubameyang and Emmanuel Riviere were tremendous as a pair.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Newcastle

West Brom were interested in Aubameyang when he was a Saint-Etienne player

“I came back raving about Aubameyang, and as luck would have it his agent called me the following week, probably because he’d got to know that I had been at the game

“He was obviously calling many clubs, but the lad was then a Milan player on loan at Saint-Etienne and he was interested in coming to England.

“The outline deal was explained to me and it was clear that he was going to be affordable so I recommended that we pursued it.

“On the back of my shout, a few more of our scouts went out to watch him a week or two later and he scored an early goal against Sochaux in a 2-1 defeat but didn’t impress sufficiently on the night, which can happen.

“He then went back to Saint-Etienne, scored 21 in 45 and was subsequently sold to Dortmund for 13million euros. He would have been a free loan to us with a two million euros fee tied into the deal had we taken him.”

Arsenal’s first goal of this season came from Aubameyang against West Brom

Arsenal’s first goal of this season came from Aubameyang against West Brom

Andriy Shevchenko

Shevchenko himself has publicly denied having ever had a trial at West Ham, but Harry Redknapp claimed he rejected him when he was in charge.

Redknapp said in 1999: “I was offered him about four years ago when he was only 19.

“We had him over for training for three or four days and I remember watching him play for us in a game against Barnet reserves at Chadwell Heath.

“He didn’t pull up any trees but looked decent enough. But this was just after I had had all those problems with the Romanian lads and I thought the last thing I needed was a Ukrainian.

“Besides, they were asking around £1million for him and I didn’t have the money at the time.”

Shevchenko was a goal machine at Milan but he failed to replicate his form at Chelsea

Getty

Shevchenko was a goal machine at Milan but he failed to replicate his form at Chelsea

Diego Maradona

He was at his brilliant best when playing for the national side and at Napoli, taking the club from an unfancied Italian outfit to two Serie A titles.

But it could have been Sheffield United who reaped the benefits of Maradona’s magic, as they came so close to signing him in 1978.

The Blades, a second division side at the time, flew with representatives from Tottenham on a scouting mission to see what talent they could find in the South American nation, claim Yorkshire Live.

Then-United boss Harry Haslam and director John Hassle joined Spurs counterpart Keith Burkinshaw and his party on a flight to Buenos Aires.

United already had deals in place for Alejandro Sabella and Pedro Verde but after watching Maradona in training, Haslam was reportedly ‘mesmerised’ by Maradona and promptly said: “I’ll take him, how much?”

Sheffield United signed the likes of Alex Sabella and Pedro Verde but just missed out on the big one – Maradona

Sheffield United signed the likes of Alex Sabella and Pedro Verde but just missed out on the big one – Maradona

A £150k deal was agreed between the Blades and Argentinos Juniors, but, the move collapsed following an unlikely intervention that evening.

Haslam was reportedly greeted at his hotel room door by members of Argentina’s notorious military police, a right-wing coup that had overthrown the previous president.

The junta were happy to let Maradona leave the country but only if Sheffield United paid them £150,000 on top of what they were already going to pay Argentinos Juniors.

United were still willing to shell out on the 17-year-old but they were uncomfortable making the deal political and the move was off.

Diego Maradona won two Serie A titles with Napoli

getty

Diego Maradona won two Serie A titles with Napoli

Lionel Messi

The Argentine’s incredible Barcelona career was very nearly scuppered by one one of the most audacious loan bids ever, thanks to the Football Manager obsessive son of Alex McLeish.

“My son Jon was into Championship Manager,” he explained to The Big Interview.

“He was constantly giving me names in South America. They come out the sky and say ‘Lionel Messi is going to be the best player in the world’.

“You dismiss it but Rangers were downsizing and we were looking for some quality in midfield.

“Barry Ferguson had gone down to Blackburn so we lost a guy who would have taken the ball in any stadium anywhere in the world. We needed players of that ilk again.

“Jan Wouters phoned Henk ten Cate, who was the assistant of Frank Rijkaard, the ex-Dutch international.

“Jan phoned him and said: ‘Messi?’ We were told no chance.”

Papac makes Messi think again on the touchline at Ibrox

Getty Images – Getty

Football Manager almost led Messi to playing his home matches at Ibrox

 





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