Top 5: Transfers which almost happened

Which English clubs came close to signing Zinedine Zidane & Diego Mardonna?

Raza Kazi
Published 04/29/2013 11:07 by Raza Kazi, read by 47,506 people.

In world football we have witnessed some eye-catching transfers. A manager picks a youngster out of obscurity and is hailed a genius for his ability to spot potential.

But what about those transfers that almost came to fruition only to break down at the 11th hour? Most transfers which fall through don’t necessarily make the headlines, instead they are forgotten, only to be remembered when the former target makes it big. 

There are some big names out there and these world-class players may have major honours such as the Champions League or a World Cup, but some of these legends came close to plying their trade in England.

In this countdown I will be taking a look at five of the biggest transfers which were never meant to be, and by the looks of it, most of these players had very lucky escapes.

5. Robert Lewandowski to Blackburn Rovers

Following his four goals against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, there were thousands of articles and media outlets which began to report that although Lewandowski has helped Dortmund put one foot in the Champions League final, he could have made a move to then-Premier League club, Blackburn Rovers.

Lech Poznan, who were Lewandowski’s former employers, accepted Sam Allardyce’s £4.2million bid for the Polish International and he was even on his way to watch Blackburn Rovers play Everton. 

Thankfully for Lewandowski, the Icelandic ash cloud scuppered the planned visit to the North West and the move fell through, resulting in Blackburn Rovers signing Nikola Kalinic and being relegated from the Premier League, allowing Lewandowski to move to Borussia Dortmund and be on the verge of a Champions League medal.

4. Diego Maradona to Sheffield United

Sheffield United boss Harry Haslam was on a scouting trip to Argentina and there he saw a 17-year-old Diego Maradona, a talented youngsters who was tipped to have a good future. 

Sheffield were persuaded to bid £200,000 for Maradona, which would see him move to Yorkshire but the deal eventually fell through.

Sheffield United refused to increase their offer for the young Argentinean and instead they opted to sign Maradona’s fellow Argentinean Alejandro Sabella. 

Sabella is now the coach of the Argentina National Team whilst Maradona turned out to be one of the greatest players to have played the game, playing for FC Barcelona and also capturing two Serie A titles with Napoli as well as a World Cup.

3. Ronaldinho to St. Mirren on loan

Everyone is aware that Ronaldinho was on his way out of Paris Saint-Germain after the 2002 World Cup, and it was rumoured that he was ever so close to joining Manchester United before opting for a switch to FC Barcelona where he enjoyed great success. 

But before this, Ronaldinho planned to acclimatise to the northern hemisphere in order to get familiar with the weather along with other demands; this was to be done by joining St. Mirren on loan.

“We spoke about Ronaldinho but there was a legal problem at the club he was at, because of the problem the Brazilian FA would not release the player’s international clearance in time for us to register him ahead of the deadline”; is what St. Mirren coach Tom Hendrie had to say about the potential deal. 

A year later, Ronaldinho emerged on to the scene after scoring a marvellous winner against England in the World Cup of 2002, and won the World Cup; before joining FC Barcelona for even more success; a very lucky escape.

2. Dennis Bergkamp to Tottenham Hotspur

What a way it would have been to get one over your arch rivals. In 1995; Tottenham chairman Alan Sugar was not pleased because star player Jurgen Klinsmann wanted to leave at the end of the season, for Bayern Munich.

Although Jurgen arrived only a year earlier, Tottenham Hotspur managed to finish above rivals Arsenal in the Premier League table and subsequently they were offered the chance to sign future Arsenal legend, Dennis Bergkamp. 

Obviously the move didn’t occur because Sugar did not want to sign another foreigner who would do the same as Klinsmann and leave the club; so he opted to bring in Chris Armstrong from Crystal Palace for £4.5million.

1. Zinedine Zidane to Blackburn Rovers

It seems as if Blackburn Rovers have missed out on their fair share of some of the greatest players to have played the game. 

Former Blackburn Rovers manager Kenny Dalglish suggested to chairman Jack Walker that Zidane; from Bordeaux, could be a useful addition to Blackburn title-winning side back in 1995, and also wanted Zidane’s compatriot Christophe Dugarry in his team.

“Why do you want to sign Zinedine Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?” is the famous quote of Jack Walker, missing out on one of the all-time greats who has gone on to win countless league titles, the World Cup and the Champions League.

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