Former Manchester United Chairman Reveals Five Players He Almost Signed

Gascoigne, Zidane Amongst The Players Who Almost Moved To Manchester United

Zinedine Zidane Manchester United transfer news
Image: David Ruddell

Former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has revealed the five transfer signings he missed out on.

Edwards is now the honorary president at Old Trafford having spent 22 years as chairman of the club from 1980 to 2002.

But speaking to MUTV, Edwards – who has just written his autobiography, Red Glory, admitted that Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, John Barnes and Zinedine Zidane were all players he thought were coming to Manchester United but who ultimately didn’t.

“Paul Gascoigne was certainly one [we missed out on],” said Edwards. “We thought he was coming but he decided to join Tottenham. I think there were certain last-minute inducements involved.

“I’d done the negotiations for Alan Shearer and again, I thought he was coming. But [Blackburn Rovers owner] Jack Walker was very adamant he wasn’t coming to Manchester United. It was a case of ‘over my dead body’ but he allowed him to go to Newcastle.

“Gary Lineker, as you know, was going to sign for Everton and his agent Jon Holmes rang me on the day and said: ‘We’re about to go on the train to sign for Everton but his first choice would be Manchester United, if you want him to come.’ I put it to Ron [Atkinson] and he said: ‘I’ve got four strikers already. The last thing we need is another striker.’ So we passed on that one.

“With John Barnes, Graham Taylor rang Alex Ferguson to see if he wanted to take him before he signed for Liverpool. Alex passed on him because it was his first season, he had Jesper Olsen in his squad and he wanted to see whether Jesper would make it.

“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 [Cantona] 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.”