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Two of Man Utd’s best ever Premier League players were rejected by Liverpool, former Reds boss explains why

Two players whose names spring to mind when you think of Manchester United icons in the Premier League era are undoubtably Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel.

King Cantona, who won four Prem titles at Old Trafford, and five-time winner Schmeichel are still loved to this day at Old Trafford.

However, it all could have been so different had former Liverpool boss Graeme Souness not turned down opportunities to sign both players for United’s bitter rivals.

Souness, who was Liverpool manager between 1991 and 1994, has told the Daily Mail how and why he passed on Cantona and Schmeichel.

“Schmeichel wrote to me when I was at Liverpool in the early 1990s,” he explained. “Ron Yeats came into my office and told me there was a young Danish goalkeeper who was a Liverpool fan and was willing to pay his own travel and hotel in exchange for some time with us.

“But at the time I was trying to ease Brucey Grobbelaar out and that was proving a hassle. And I think I had just signed David James. So I thought I could do without it.

“Similar with Eric. We had played Auxerre at home and Michel Platini came to see me. He said he had a player — a problem boy but a proper player. Cantona. I said the last thing I needed was another problem player. I had 30-pluses that I was trying to get out so I didn’t need more hassle. I said I was looking for something else. I said no thanks.”

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Former midfielder Souness took charge of 157 Liverpool games, winning 42.04% of them.

Souness oversaw 66 victories, 45 draws and 46 defeats in the Reds dugout.

Only one Liverpool manager (ignoring the brief period Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier were joint bosses) since Souness left Anfield has a worse win-percentage than the Scot.

That man is Roy Hodgson, whose 13 victories in 31 matches gave him a disappointing 41.94% record.

More Stories Bruce Grobbelaar Eric Cantona Graeme Souness Michel Platini Peter Schmeichel