Six of the craziest Premier League transfers ever attempted, including Ronaldinho to Blackburn

9 Jul

The transfer window is an incredibly intriguing and exciting part of football.

There are some moves which are like a rollercoaster rides, twisting and turning throughout the summer and they are only finalised in the final hour, while other deals can be completed quietly behind the scenes and many wouldn’t even realise they happened.

Robinho joined Manchester City for £32.5m on the same day the club was bought out buy the Abu Dhabi United Group

Sometimes, however, there are ludicrous transfers that simply no one could have predicted.

talkSPORT.com has identified the craziest attempted deals in Premier League history which have come close but ultimately never materialised.

Roberto Carlos to Aston Villa

Roberto Carlos' free-kick for Brazil against France in 1997
Carlos revealed he nearly joined Aston Villa at the beginning of his career

Legendary full-back Carlos nearly moved to the Premier League, with Aston Villa close to signing him in the early days of his career.

The Brazilian left-back told The Sun: “I actually came close to joining Aston Villa early in my career.

“I met with the club, but nothing happened. Birmingham were also interested, but it didn’t go anywhere and I later joined Inter Milan.”

Zinedine Zidane to Blackburn Rovers

1) Zinedine Zidane to Blackburn and Newcastle
Zidane’s career could have gone very differently if he signed for Blackburn

When former manager Kenny Dalglish suggested ‘Zizou’ as a useful addition to Rovers’ title-winning squad in 1995, chairman Jack Walker replied, “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?””

Blackburn have won just one League Cup since then, with Sherwood lining up for runners-up Tottenham Hotspur on that day.

Zidane signed for Juventus a year later and went on to win everything worth winning, while Blackburn were relegated from the English top-flight a few seasons later.

Ronaldinho to Blackburn Rovers

Ronaldinho was a target for Blackburn

Blackburn made a surprising attempt to sign Ronaldinho shortly after they were taken over by their new owners; Venky’s.

The Indian poultry conglomerate had big plans for the club and signing the flamboyant Brazilian was the first move on their agenda.

It is believed Rovers also wanted to bring David Beckham in on loan, but neither move materialised and Ronaldinho moved back to his home country instead.

Blackburn eventually captured the signing of Roque Santa Cruz from Man City on loan, as well as Jermaine Jones from Schalke, but neither made much of an impact at the club.

By the end of the following campaign, Rovers were relegated to the Championship.

Kaka to Manchester City

Following the huge influx of cash from Sheikh Mansour in 2008, City shocked the world with the deadline day signing of Robinho.

And they weren’t ready to stop there, pin-pointing Kaka as their next marquee signing.

The AC Milan midfielder was heralded as the best player in the world at the time but the Serie A side were not keen on selling their prized asset.

Manchester City tried to sign Kaka from AC Milan

However, City eventually had an offer in the region of £100m accepted for the playmaker.

A contract was written but Kaka pulled out of the deal in the very last minute.

He later explained why the transfer never happened to FourFourTwo.

He said: “I’d finally come to the conclusion that it wasn’t quite the right time for me to go to City, and the main reason was the uncertainty over the squad-building process that they were about to undertake.

“It wasn’t clear to me how the squad would be reshaped and I wasn’t too convinced it would work.”

Didier Drogba to Birmingham City

2003/04: Didier Drogba (Marseille)
Birmingham were reportedly close to agreeing a deal with Marseille for Drogba

Birmingham were just one of a host of clubs interested in signing Drogba from Marseille in the 2003-04 season.

The Ligue 1 club were demanding a fee of £3m for the striker and the Blues were reportedly ready to stump up that figure. However, they later opted to sign Emile Heskey instead for around £6m.

Drogba’s price skyrocketed when Marseille progressed to the Uefa Cup final, with the Ivorian scoring against Liverpool on the way – but as everyone knows he would later seal a move to Chelsea and the rest is history.

Robert Lewandowski to Blackburn Rovers

1. Lewandowski nearly signed for Big Sam - Click for more close escapes
Lewandowski nearly chose Blackburn over Dortmund

Lewandowski nearly signed for Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn after impressing in the Polish top-flight with Lech Poznan.

The striker reportedly favoured a move to the Premier League but eventually moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2010.

Big Sam is believed to have had a £4.2m bid for the Polish striker accepted by Lech Poznan, but the Icelandic ash cloud scuppered his flight to England’s north west and Allardyce snapped up Nikola Kalinic instead.

Soccer Aid – The best moments from England vs World XI including Jamie Carragher’s dreadful defending and Piers Morgan’s wild celebrations

16 Jun

Just when you think England are getting good at penalties, they go and lose one dreadfully.

Ok, it was only Soccer Aid, but try taking this victory away from the World XI, managed by the jubilant Piers Morgan.

Piers Morgan huge Harry Redknapp after the match
Getty Images - Getty

The match, which is raising money for worldwide children’s charity UNICEF, went to a penalty shootout after finishing 2-2.

Former Britain’s Got Talent star Jeremy Lynch put England XI 2-0 up in the first-half.

However, World XI captain and Olympic legend Usain Bolt pounced on an error from Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher to make it 2-1 just before the break.

And a late strike from Love Island 2017 winner Kem Cetinay ensured the game went to a dreaded spot-kick.

World XI goalkeeper and Westlife’s Nicky Byrne turned out to be the hero as he saved penalties to deny celebrity fitness coach Joe Wicks and comedian Lee Mack, while TOWIE star Mark Wright put his effort from twelve yards wide.

It was a memorable evening at Stamford Bridge all in aid of a great cause and below are a selection of the best bits from Soccer Aid 2019.

Jeremy Lynch’s brace earned him the man-of-the-match award
Getty Images - Getty

100m and 200m world record holder Bolt took advantage of Carragher misjudging the flight of the ball to bring World XI back in it
Getty Images - Getty

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah was the captain of the England XI
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Singer Rita Ora performed at half-time and caught up with One Direction singer Niall Horan
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There was a familiar feeling for England as they lost on penalties again
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Piers Morgan is thrown in the air by his World XI players
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The winners of Soccer Aid 2019 are World XI
Getty Images - Getty

Manchester United nearly XI: The players who Sir Alex Ferguson could have signed at Old Trafford including Zidane and Ronaldinho

8 Feb

Sir Alex Ferguson brought a number of the world’s best players to Manchester United during his near 27-year spell as manager.

United were consistently one of the best teams in Europe throughout that period so it was natural there would be a number of players he chose to snub who would go on to great things.

Here at talkSPORT.com we have taken a look back at all those players Ferguson nearly signed for the Red Devils and put together a pretty decent starting XI.

The players who Alex Ferguson could have signed at United

Goalkeeper

Petr Cech

United went through a succession of goalkeepers before signing Edwin van der Sar from Fulham but they so nearly could have signed Petr Cech.

“I went to see him in 2003 for Rennes. We thought Petr was a bit young for the bruisers in the Premier League.”

The following year he signed for Chelsea and the rest is history.

Petr Cech is retiring from football at the end of the season

Defence

Roberto Carlos

“It is true that Manchester United want me. But at the moment that is not important.

“I have a contract and I am happy in the city and at Real Madrid. I do not know if the clubs are talking. If Real Madrid and Manchester want to, they can sit down to speak about a transfer that could happen. I am not going to put up any obstacles.

“When they come to an agreement, I will join in. Manchester United have been making inquiries about me for two years. Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken to me on occasions and I am aware that I am a player he likes.” Carlos said in 2002 while at Real Madrid.

Alex Ferguson wanted to sign Roberto Carlos in 2002

Raphael Varane

Fergie really wanted France and Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, then of Lens as he revealed in his book.

“In 2011, I hurtled down on the train from Euston to Lille to sign the young French defender Raphael Varane.

“David Gill was getting into the finer points of the contract with Lens, Varane’s club, when [Real Madrid ambassador] Zinedine Zidane got wind of this and somehow scooped him up for Real Madrid from under our noses.

“I don’t think Jose Mourinho, who was managing Real Madrid, had even seen Varane play.”

Raphael Varane has gone on to be a star of Madrid

Paolo Maldini

Ferguson revealed, despite his best efforts, he didn’t stand a chance in trying to sign AC Milan hero Maldini.

“I did try but, when I met his father (Cesare), he was quite formidable,” Sir Alex said. “I got a shake of the head and that was all. He said ‘my grandfather is Milan, my father is Milan, I am Milan and my son is Milan… forget it!”

Paolo Maldini spent his whole career at Milan

Javier Zanetti

This one is a bit of a stretch but Zanetti was heavily rumoured to be close to joining United but the deal never materialised.

“I once saw Alex Ferguson in an airport while I was in England with my wife,” Zanetti said after he retired.

“We talked a bit about football, but I was always centred on my idea of staying with Inter, even in those complicated years, and it would have been difficult for me to go under any circumstances.

“It wasn’t just Manchester United, there were other big clubs as well, but my love for Inter always tipped the scales.”

Midfield

Ronaldinho

United pipped to the signing of Ronaldinho by Barcelona – it almost happened in 2003 when Ronadinho was leaving Paris Saint-Germain.

“It was a matter of 48 hours,” he told FourFourTwo when asked how close he was to joining United.

“But Sandro Rosell had told me way before I got the offer: ‘If I become Barca president, will you come?’ I said yes.

“It was only a matter of details with United when Rosell called to say he was going to win the elections there. And I had promised to him that I’d play for Barca. It was a quick negotiation.”

Ronaldinho was a star at Barcelona

Michael Essien

The Red Devils had the chance to sign Essien eight years before Chelsea did in 2005 when the Ghanaian was still at FC Bastia.

Zinedine Zidane

Fergie chose to put re-signing Eric Cantona in 1996 above signing fellow Frenchman Zidane.

Martin Edwards, in his book, lifted the lid on Ferguson’s thinking when it was put to him that United should be signing the Frenchman from Bordeaux: “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, he felt that, if he had brought Zidane in, it may have affected Eric’s position, so he stuck with Eric.”

United could have signed Zidane in 1996

Gareth Bale

United had the chance to sign a young Gareth Bale while he was a left-back at Southampton but Spurs came in with a bid of £5million plus add-ons and Ferguson thought that was too much.

Attack

Ronaldo

Sir Alex Ferguson revealed the club tried to sign one of the greatest strikers in the history of football. “We wanted to sign the Brazilian striker from Cruzeiro in 1994, but we could not get a work permit and he went to PSV Eindhoven.” Oh, what might have been.

Ronaldo was one of the best strikers in the world

Kaka

Ferguson tried to sign Kaka, and his brother Digao, while they were youth prospects at Milan.

“Once he wanted to sign me and my brother whilst we were at Milan,” Kaka said about Ferguson, “but we chose to stay.”

Subtitutes: Raul, Paul Gascoigne, Didier Drogba, Sergio Aguero, Thomas Muller, Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard.

Top 11 highest scoring defenders, including Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Barcelona legends

14 Jan

Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos netted his 100th goal for Los Blancos in their cup match against Leganes last week.

The Spaniard joined a prestigious group of defenders to have achieved the feat – but where does he rank in the list?

Ramos bagged his 100th goal in midweek

talkSPORT.com has assessed where Ramos features in the highest-scoring defenders of all time.


11: Sergio Ramos – 100 goals

No defender in world football currently scores more than the Real Madrid captain, and what’s more impressive is he does it at crucial moments too.

Ramos scored vital goals for his side in both Champions League finals against bitter rivals Atletico Madrid.

He has scored 50 goals in LaLiga, with more of them coming against Malaga (5) than any other team.

This season he has scored seven so far after becoming the main penalty taker for his side since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ramos is prolific for Real Madrid

10. Sinisa Mihajlovic – 105 goals

The Yugoslavian defender was an expert from dead-ball situations.

He netted ten goals for his country and 61 goals in Serie A for his four different Italian sides, Roma, Inter, Sampdoria and Lazio.

Mihajlovic also holds the record for the most free-kicks scored, along with Andrea Piro in Italy’s top division.

Mihajlovic playing for Lazio

9. Franz Beckenbauer – 109 goals

The West Germany captain revolutionised the sweeper role, and the fact that he was the furthest player from the opposition’s goal speaks volumes of his goalscoring prowess.

He was known for his creativity and passing as well as his elite defending skills.

Over 19 years, he scored 109 times.

He was most prolific for Bayern Munich where he netted 64 goals in 439 appearances.

Beckenbauer bagged his fair share of goals

8. Roberto Carlos (113)

The scorer of, arguably, one of the greatest free-kicks of all time, Carlos has been lauded as one of the best attacking full-backs to have played the game.

The Brazilian was part of the ‘Galacticos’ squad that grew to fame in the early 2000’s and became known for his ability to get forward from the flanks into goalscoring positions.

He was also deadly at set pieces for club and country with most of his strikes coming from dead-balls.

It’s hard to think of many footballers in history who have had a more lethal left foot.

Carlos had a lethal left foot

7: Paul Breitner – 113 goals

Just like Beckenbauer, Breitner contributed significantly to Bayern and West Germany’s unprecedented success in the 1970’s.

He is just one of four players to have scored in two World Cup finals, and he also contributed another three in the 1974 World Cup.

Although he moved to midfield in the latter stages of his career, he was predominantly a defender and got most of his goals from deep.

Breitner scored most of his goals for Bayern and ten of his goals were for his country.

Breitner was instrumental for west Germany and Bayern Munich

6: Steve Bruce (113)

The Englishman loved to get on the scoresheet, in particular for Manchester United, but also contributed a fair few with Gillingham, Norwich, Birmingham and Sheffield United.

His most famous goal came against Sheffield United in the 1992/93 when he scored twice to give the Sir Alex Ferguson’s side their first title in 26 years.

His best season came in 1990/91 for the Red Devils, when he scored 19 goals in all competitions.

Bruce loved a goal from defence

5: Graham Alexander (130)

The Scotsman was a right-back for many clubs over the years including Burnley, Scunthorpe, Luton and Preston North End.

He was on spot-kick duties and many of his goals came came from penalties, but he also had the impressive ability to pop up from goals in open play as a right-back.

Suprisingly, he never got on the scoresheet for Scotland.

Alexander was a prolific scorer

4: Laurent Blanc (153)

Remarkably, the former France boss still holds the goal scoring record at the club he began playing football with: Montpelier.

Blanc started his career as an attacking midfielder before dropping back to play as a sweeper, netting 80 goals in eight years with the club – with many coming from set pieces.

The former Paris Saint-Germain manager also scored 16 goals for France, with his most famous being the Golden Goal winner against Paraguay in his nation’s last-16 tie of the 1998 World Cup.

Blanc was a sweeper and talented goalscorer

3: Fernando Hierro (163)

Hierro cemented his place as one of Spain and Real Madrid’s all-time greats with his goalscoring ability.

He captained both sides and took penalties and free-kicks contributing to his high tally.

But he also demonstrated an incredible aerial presence at corners and many have said that Real Madrid have never found a true replacement for their former captain.

He also scored in the Premier League for Bolton Wanderers.

Hierro was a goal machine

2: Daniel Passarella (175)

Arguably South America’s best ever defender, the Argentine had an astounding goalscoring ability.

Many used to say short players shouldn’t be good at defending, but at 5ft 8in, Passarella well and truly silenced those who held the view.

If attacking players such as Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi did not exist, he would have a shout at being the best Argentinian to wear the famous blue and white shirt.

He captained his nation to World Cup glory in 1978 and was part of their winning squad in 1986 too.

Passarella guided Argentina to World Cup glory

1: Ronald Koeman (253)

The Dutchman holds the title of the most prolific defender of all time.

Making his name as a sweeper, the former Barcelona player boasts a record that many strikers would dream of.

He once scored 26 goals in a single season for PSV and was also instrumental for Barcelona in his time with the Catalan giants, netting 19 goals twice in two different seasons for the Blaugrana.

It will come as no surprise that Koeman took free-kicks and penalties – and his most important strike was his extra-time free-kick against Sampdoria that handed Barcelona their first ever European Cup in 1992 at Wembley.

Koeman scored a stunning 253 career goals