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Football News: The Liverpool Nearly Men

The Liverpool Nearly Men
Image from: jucoolimages.com

Over the years, a lot of players have come close to joining Liverpool who could have increased the club's success. Here is some details on a few of them.

Frank Worthington
In 1972 Liverpool manager Bill Shankly wanted to sign the mercurial and extremely talented Frank Worthington for £150,000. Unfortunately his supreme talent was matched by his ability to party and the Elvis Presley obsessed Worthington failed a medical due to high blood pressure caused by his lifestyle. Undaunted, Shanks sent the Huddersfield Town forward off for a holiday to Majorca to let his blood pressure drop. Worthington instead partied, in true playboy style, with as many women as he could get his hands on. He returned, took another medical and failed that for the exact same reason. The 'working man's George Best' has often claimed that signing for Liverpool would have sorted him out.

 

David Silva and David Villa
Rafael Benitez set up a double deal to sign the pair of them from Valencia while he was in charge. Seeing the pair as the signings to work with Fernando Torres and bring the title to Anfield. Valencia, at the time, needed the money and so a deal was set up easily with the club, but Rafa had to put in work to convince the players that a move to England was in their best interests. Sadly for Rafa, the club was then owned by Gillett and Hicks, who were having financial difficulties and had to pull the plug on the deal before it could happen.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Probably the most famous nearly man, as the former Manchester United star was very nearly a Liverpool player instead. The talent was clear as the teenager impressed then manager Gerrard Houllier, and for once he was judging correctly as he got a deal agreed for roughly £3.6m with some add ons. Sadly for Ged, and his reputation as a talent spotter, Rick Parry had charge of the club's budget, and he had about as much clue about football as Tyson Fury has about PR. Parry pulled the plug on the deal, claiming it was far too much to spend on an unproven teenager. I wonder how he felt as the Portugese superstar joined Real Madrid for a world record fee a few years later?

Simao Sabrosa
The Portugese winger was all set to sign for Liverpool in 2005, with a deal all agreed with him and the lad keen on the move to join the then European champions. Unfortunately Liverpool baulked at the asking price for him, and he was taken off a flight to the UK as he was about to fly over for a medical.

 

Nicolas Anelka
Nicolas Anelka spent some time on loan with Liverpool, with Gerrard Houllier in charge, and he performed well, well enough to expect a permanent move to materialise. Anelka, who was on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, played a large part in the team securing second place in the league, and, with all the details between the two clubs agreed, it was fully expected that Anelka would be a permanent part of Houllier's French Revolution at Anfield. Instead Houllier made the decision to move for Senegalese forward El-Hadji Diouf. Houllier's tyrannical style of management could not cope with Anelka's questioning of tactics and attempt to have an input in team meetings and team talks.

Nemanja Vidic
In January 2006, prior to the Serbian's move to bitter rivals Manchester United, Nemanja Vidic was close to joining Liverpool. Liverpool's loss turned out to be United's gain as the centre back captained them to multiple trophies.

Mario Gomez
Gomez was one of many strikers Liverpool tried to sign before ending up with Andy Carroll. While a couple, such as Luuk de Jong and Ola Toivonen have not impressed in subsequent spells in English football, Mario Gomez has not joined the Premier League since this move fell through. It is safe to say that he would have been a much better option than Carroll though!

 

Michael Laudrup
Laudrup is a self confessed Liverpool fan who was offered the chance to live the dream and sign for Liverpool, but ended up turning his down. According to Laudrup, in 1983 he and his father came to Liverpool and they agreed a 3 year contract with the club and everything was set for the 19 year old to join. But two weeks later the club contacted him wanting to change the deal to a 4 year one, due to his young age. So he decided to reject the contract, as he felt they had an agreement and it should be honoured. So he went and joined Juventus instead.

Dani Alves
Nemanja Vidic was not the only player missed out on in 2006, as Liverpool agreed an £8m fee for Brazilian right back/winger Dani Alves, but failed to stump up the cash required to bring him in. Still, it is not like he has amounted to much since is it? Poor guy is probably still gutted at having to take Barcelona's offer and play alongside the best players in the world.

Gabriel Batistuta
Batigol is one of the all time greats in world football, but the Argentine striker could have been the partner for Liverpool's legendary goalscorer Robbie Fowler. Then Liverpool manager Roy Evans tried to get a deal done for Batistuta, as his time in Italian football looked to be coming to an end. Batistuta was interested in the move, Evans was extremely keen to get a deal done, but the club itself failed to get the deal agreed, sadly.

 

Mario Goetze
Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish needed a midfielder and the choice came down to one of two players, Jordan Henderson and Mario Goetze. Hendo was chosen and has gone on to become club captain, but it could easily have been the German who was recruited.

Luis Figo
Portugese superstar shocked the world when he ushered in the Galactico era by leaving Barcelona to join arch-rivals Real Madrid for an enormous fee. At 32, with his Madrid time over, he was looking for a new challenge, and Liverpool were able to agree a fee to sign him. Unfortunately, even though he agreed personal terms with the Reds, he decided to join Inter Milan instead, citing their treatment of him as being more like a friend.

Gareth Barry
Most Liverpool supporters know this story, which showed when Rafa lost the plot completely, as he spent an entire summer desperately trying to sell Xabi Alonso so he could be replaced with Gareth Barry. Even saying it now the story seems no less insane. What was he thinking?

Teddy Sheringham
Another alternative to play alongside Robbie Fowler, instead of Batigol, was Teddy Sheringham, who was already entering what should have been the twilight of his career at the time. Teddy was keen to join but the club had a policy of not buying older players, which Roy Evans was refused permission to break. Sheringham instead went to Manchester United and played there for a number of years, with great success.

Written by Tris Burke December 11 2015 18:24:02