In a sensational story it has been revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson prevented a deal coming to fruition for Zinedine Zidane because he didn’t want to upset Eric Cantona.
The tale comes from former United chairman Martin Edwards who told BBC Radio 5 Live that, “Zidane and Eric played in the same position and Alex felt if they brought Zidane in it would have upset Eric.” As reported by the Mirror.
Edwards went on to concede that it was a mistake as Zidane would have actually have made for a perfect replacement for his fellow countryman Cantona. (Also, there is just the small matter of Zidane going on to become one the greatest stars of word football but we’ll overlook that to spare Ferguson and Edwards’ blushes.)
At the time in 1996, the French midfielder was playing for Bordeaux and instead left for Italian giant’s Juventus with the Red Devils hesitant to complete a deal. In Italy, the superstar went on to win two league titles and a domestic cup before moving to Real Madrid where he went on to win both the Champions League and La Liga.
This obviously isn’t the first bizarre story of club’s turning down potential moves for payers that would go on to become superstars. If you can cast your minds back to 2010, the Mail once had West Ham as the favourites to sign a young Brazilian lad who happened to go by the name of Neymar. (If only!)
While a United team fronted by the powers of Zidane is quite possibly one of the most frightening ideas we’ve ever imagined, it wasn’t a complete loss as we seem to remember the Red Devils went on to have a half-decent season themselves a few years later in 1999.