9 players Fergie decided not to sign for Man Utd: Silva, Lampard, Ribery…

Sir Alex Ferguson signed some wonderful players during his 27 years in charge of Manchester United, but he also missed out on some.

Ferguson wasn’t wrong about many things at Old Trafford. But in addition to various inspired decisions among around 100 signings, there were also some failures.

However, as much as Fergie regrets some of the players she signed over the years, she surely regrets some of the ones she didn’t sign.

Zinedine Zidane

No United fan would criticize Ferguson for putting Eric Cantona above any potential new recruit, but Zidane’s prospect at Old Trafford is too tempting not to regret it.

Martin Edwards, in his book, uncovered Ferguson’s thinking when he was asked that United should sign the Frenchman from Bordeaux in 1996: “Alex said that Eric had also mentioned Zidane to him, but Alex felt that Zidane played in the same position. that Eric.

“Having gone to France to persuade Eric to sign with us again, after the Crystal Palace incident, he felt that if he had brought Zidane it might have affected Eric’s position, so he stayed with Eric. “.

As it turned out, Cantona retired just one season after Zidane left Bordeaux for Juventus.

READ: Forensic analysis of Zizou’s performance against Brazil, World Cup 2006

John Barnes

Liverpool don’t have much to thank Ferguson for, but passing up the opportunity to sign John Barnes from Watford in 1987 is certainly a reason to be grateful.

Edwards explains in his autobiography, red glory: ”Graham Taylor called Alex Ferguson to see if he wanted to take him before he signed for Liverpool.

“Alex let it go because it was his first season at United, he had Jesper Olsen in his team and he wanted to see if Jesper would make it.”

Olsen showed flashes, but the Denmark winger had nothing remotely like the impact Barnes had at Liverpool.

David Silva

Even the most die-hard United fan who hates City will admit, privately at least, that it’s impossible to find any reason not to love David Silva.

But Ferguson pulled it off.

Before the Spanish genius joined Manchester City in 2010 for £24m, United had their eye on him.

“We watched Silva a lot when he was in Valencia,” Ferguson said. “My problem with that is that you have to be very, very good to play that position, because there are no defensive duties for them.

“So if you want to be really successful, everybody has to do their shift, they have to work, you know?”

Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola got Silva to do the dirty work. Maybe all you had to do was ask?

frank lamp

The likes of Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes starred in United’s midfield and had an eye for goal.

Ferguson saw that in Lampard too before he moved to Chelsea in 2001, and the former United boss reckons he might have made a mistake by not meeting his initial interest.

“Lampard has been amazing,” Ferguson said. “I don’t think a midfielder can do that figure again. He is pretty phenomenal.

“Like Bryan Robson, he has had a great ability to time his runs into the box at the right time. John Wark was another at Ipswich.

“The guy has had a great career. I must say we watched him when he was a young player at West Ham and maybe I regret not doing so.

“Where else could I get 200 goals?”

Not from Juan Sebastian Veron, who moved to Old Trafford at the same time Lampard left for Chelsea, that’s for sure.

petr cech

Despite signing Peter Schmeichel, Edwin van der Sar and David de Gea during his Old Trafford reign, Ferguson occasionally had a blind spot when it came to goalkeeping.

Replacing Schmeichel took six years, and during that time Cech was making a very positive impression in Ligue 1.

“I went to see him in 2003 for Rennes,” said Ferguson. “We thought Petr was a bit young for Premier League strikers.”

So he insisted with Tim Howard and Roy Carroll passing the gloves to each other and too often dropping them. Cech went instead to Chelsea in 2004, where he had more than a decade of success, but Van der Sar arrived a year later, and he didn’t fare too badly either.

Danish legend Peter Schmeichel

READ: Ranking Man Utd’s 23 Premier League goalkeepers from worst to best

Didier Drogba

Cech wasn’t the only Chelsea legend Ferguson dithered over. Drogba was also turning heads in France with Marseille, but the United manager’s uncertainty allowed the Blues to almost run free.

“We went to see him [at Marseille] but the club wanted £25m and Chelsea went in for the kill before we made up our minds,” Ferguson said.

A month later, Ferguson spent £27m on Wayne Rooney, and it worked out fine in the end…

Sergio Aguero

“His agent was demanding a price we weren’t willing to pay,” Ferguson said of United’s interest in Sergio Aguero.

Whatever the amount, it would almost certainly have been worth it.

Less than a year after Aguero joined Manchester City for what turned out to be a total of £31.5m, the striker scored the last-gasp goal that denied Ferguson and United the title in 2012. .


Raúl was 33 when United had the opportunity to sign him after leaving Real Madrid, but given that Ferguson opted not to because he had Michael Owen on his books, he may regret his decision.

“Bringing in Raúl would have been similar to when we managed to hire Henrik Larsson for a short time,” Ferguson said in 2011.

“We spoke to his agent about a possible move but we already had Javier Hernandez and with Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen available we thought we could afford to let the opportunity pass.

“If we hadn’t had Michael at the club at the time, I might as well have signed him.”

Owen scored two goals in just one start and 10 substitute appearances in the Premier League that season. Raúl scored 13 in 34 games for Schalke in the Bundesliga.

READ: When Raúl became a Schalke legend while teaching Draxler, Pukki and Fuchs

Franck Ribery

Just 45 minutes was all it took for Ferguson to decide Ribery wasn’t good enough for Manchester United.

Alistair Campbell, a former Labor Party spokesman, tells the story of accompanying Ferguson to watch Bolton play Marseille, with the 22-year-old Ribery.

“Alex was looking at Franck Ribery, the Marseille winger, but decided at half-time he wasn’t good enough for United,” he said.

It’s not good enough for United, but Bayern Munich felt otherwise and it seems they were right.

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