Soccer

14 players Man Utd almost signed – from Eden Hazard to Wesley Sneijder

Don’t wait around for updates – sign up for our daily football email newsletter today!

Manchester United have used the transfer window to elevate them to unprecedented success in recent history.

The club pride themselves on developing the very best academy players that can progress through to the first-team at Old Trafford.

But making elite signings keeps the top clubs thriving with ambition and drive for further success.

And signings can become just as loved as the club's very own. Take Eric Cantona and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as two prime examples.

But what about the players who never had the chance to adhere themselves to United supporters?

Here, Daily Star Sport looks at the ones who got away….

Wesley Sneijder

The infamous transfer saga that looked like it may never end.

Sneijder was first linked to United when he was thriving at Inter Milan in 2011.

The Dutch midfielder also revealed he turned down a switch to United from Galatasaray in 2014.

United fans only had true peace of mind that the saga was over when he announcement his retirement from football last year.

Eden Hazard

“When they won the Champions League I told myself, ‘Why not Chelsea?'," Hazard said after moving to Stamford Bridge from Chelsea in 2012.

“There was a struggle between Chelsea and United but, for me, Chelsea has the best project. It’s a wonderful club.”

Hazard had the choice of plenty of European clubs after shining at Lille, and Sir Alex Ferguson even scouted the Belgian superstar himself.

He became one of the Premier League's best players in west London, but Old Trafford could have been his calling had Chelsea not pulled off a miracle in Europe.

Ronaldinho

United fans will always be left what wondering what could have happened if Ronaldinho moved to Manchester.

The Red Devils were said to be close to a swoop for the Brazilian sensation when he was making his name at Paris Saint-Germain.

But when Barcelona came calling in the summer of 2003, Ronaldinho could not turn the Spanish giants down.

Fortunately for United that summer, they signed another superstar in the making in Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sergio Ramos

Ramos hasn't been the first and won't be the last player to use Manchester United's name when discussing a contract extension.

The Spanish legend finally left Real Madrid for PSG this summer, but there was a time United held a serious interest.

In 2015, United were looking for a centre-back and Ramos fit the bill perfectly.

But he eventually, and perhaps predictably, signed a five-year-deal to stay with Los Blancos.

Alan Shearer

Shearer is in a unique club of turning down the allure of Manchester United twice.

The Premier League's all-time top goalscorer rejected the Red Devils in favour of Blackburn in 1992 after moving from Southampton.

After Euro 1996, United went in for Shearer again and talks were even held with the striker's agents.

But Sir Alex Ferguson was later informed that Shearer had chosen to sign for his boyhood club Newcastle United.

Erling Haaland

It would be foolish to rule out Erling Haaland from playing for Manchester United at some point in his career.

But Europe's most sought after striker has already turned down a move to Old Trafford once.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to sign his Norwegian compatriot from RB Salzburg in 2019, but he instead chose Borussia Dortmund.

United, however, are unlikely to have yet given up their interest in a young striker destined for greatness.

Aaron Ramsey

It's rare a club announces they have agreed a deal for a player on their official website only for a transfer not to go through.

But that was the case for United who believed they were very close to a move for Cardiff teenager Aaron Ramsey.

Ramsey preferred a move to Arsenal and moved to north London after being convinced over the project by Arsene Wenger.

The uproar from United fans if the same thing was repeated in this social media age is unimaginable.

Paulo Dybala

United's interest in Dybala became widely known after they pursued the Juventus forward in the hope of a swap deal for Romelu Lukaku.

The Red Devils were keen on the Argentina international to bring some creativity and goalscoring instinct to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad.

But it soon became apparent that Dybala did not fancy a move, leaving the transfer dead in the water following an alleged wrangle over image rights.

Lukaku later joined Juve's Italian rivals Inter Milan, while Dybala remains in Turin.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale has seemingly been linked with United every year since graduating as a youth product from Southampton.

The Red Devils tried to sign him as he was making his name as a left-back in 2007, before his switch to Tottenham.

United were also said to be in the hunt when Bale completed a record move to Real Madrid in 2013.

Surely the time has now passed for Bale to play in the red of United.

John Obi-Mikel

One of the most infamous transfer stories in recent memory.

John Obi-Mikel actually signed for Manchester United from Lyn Oslo in 2005 and was seen wearing the new shirt in a press conference.

But in a remarkable twist, Chelsea understood that they had their own agreement to sign the Nigerian midfielder.

He eventually moved to Stamford Bridge, but the Blues were forced to pay a large compensation fee to United.

Toni Kroos

Kroos is one of the most accomplished midfielders of his generation and came so close to spending his peak years at Old Trafford.

The German star and United manager David Moyes have both spoken about how there was a verbal transfer agreement in the summer of 2013.

It was the summer after Moyes had replaced Sir Alex Ferguson and Kroos was high up on the agenda at the club.

But the move fell through as he stayed at Bayern Munich for one more season, before joining Real Madrid the following summer when Moyes was no longer United boss.

Cesc Fabregas

Moyes became a laughing stock in some quarters for his failure to attract the top names during his brief stint as United boss.

Fabregas was a player United openly coveted in the Scot's reign but a deal could never be pulled off.

United had a bid turned down by Barcelona for the Spanish World Cup winner in 2013 and he later signed for Chelsea.

Fabregas also could have signed for United as a youngster but chose Arsenal after leaving Barca's La Masia academy.

Gabriel Batistuta

Gabriel Batistuta is a player that no doubt would have been adored by the United faithful had he signed for the club.

Batistuta was a goalscoring machine in the 1990's and was constantly linked with a move to United.

He was an elite forward on the top of many European sides' transfer list, but decided to spend nine years at Fiorentina.

The Argentine eventually left Fiorentina to join Italian rivals Roma in 2000.

Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann looked all set for an exit from Atletico Madrid in 2017 and United fans were licking their lips at the prospect of seeing the French forward at the club.

United were reportedly ready to trigger the release clause in Griezmann's contract.

But Griezmann ultimately decided to stay loyal to his club after they were banned by FIFA from signing players so couldn't find a replacement.

Just two years later, he signed for Atletico's direct rivals Barcelona where he has struggled to recapture the same form.

Get your hands on your club's special edition 2021/22 annual. Find out more here.

  • Manchester United FC
  • Transfer news

Source: Read Full Article