Former Liverpool star Harry Kewell has explained why he turned down a transfer to Arsenal when he swapped Leeds for Anfield back in 2003.
The Australian winger was a star player during his time at Leeds and could surely have moved to a number of top clubs during his peak, but he opted for the somewhat surprise option of Liverpool when he could arguably have played for even bigger teams at the time.
Kewell, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Leeds v Sheffield United, admits he was won over by Gerard Houllier’s pitch to him, despite also having good conversations with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, while AC Milan were also keen on him.
“I have great, great memories of my time at Leeds United but the opportunity came for me to move on and there were about seven or eight clubs that were seriously interested in me at the time,” Kewell said.
“But when I spoke with Gerard Houllier, the way he spoke about football was just phenomenal. His vision completely sold it for me.
“Don’t get me wrong, I had interviews with AC Milan and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, these are clubs and managers that are very respectable and they put their pitches forward as well, but speaking to Houllier just got me over the line. He told me what he wanted to do with his Liverpool squad and I knew I had to be a part of it.
“I don’t have any regrets at all about choosing Liverpool over Arsenal. Yes they went on to complete that unbelievable invincible season and it was truly phenomenal what they achieved and I always had a lot of respect for Arsene Wenger and his interest in me.
“But for me a Champions League is something that every player wants to get their hands on.”
Kewell ended up winning the Champions League with Liverpool, beating Milan in Istanbul, so surely shouldn’t have any regrets over his move, though he could also have been an Invincible if he’d joined Arsenal in 2003.
The Gunners had plenty of other top attacking players at that time, however, so Kewell perhaps also fancied his chances of playing more regularly with the Reds.