Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has admitted he once had the chance to sign striker Andy Carroll for just £4.5million.
Carroll could make his first start for Liverpool at the Stadium of Light on Sunday after finally shaking off the thigh injury with which he arrived at Anfield after his £35million switch from Newcastle in January.
But Bruce has revealed he enquired about the striker when he was Wigan boss, and told the Journal: "When I was Wigan manager, he came on against us and played well, really well. On the Monday morning, I rang up (then manager) Joe Kinnear and I said to him, 'Would you sell me Andy?', and they quoted me £4.5million."
He added: "To be honest, I seriously thought about it - however, in the end, we could only go to £2.5million.
"I had (Emile) Heskey at the time and I did wonder if Heskey and Carroll would work, so Andy Carroll could quite easily have ended up being my player."
Had Wigan found the extra £2million at that time, Bruce might have spared himself one of the most painful afternoons of his managerial career to date.
Gateshead-born Carroll proved too hot for Sunderland to handle when they made the short trip to St James' Park in October last year, as he and strike partner Shola Ameobi took the Black Cats' defence apart.
The 22-year-old did not score, but his aerial prowess helped pave the way for a thumping 5-1 derby victory in which skipper Kevin Nolan plundered a hat-trick and Ameobi a double.
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