Football

Top five: Manchester United targets that got away

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The back pages over the last few weeks centred around Manchester United's pursuit of Barcelona youngster Thiago Alacantra. 

For a week or so, the tabloids seemed to think it was a done deal if United could agree personal terms with Thiago and his Brazilian agent and father Mazinho. 

However Thiago has decided to reject overtures from United to agree a four-year deal to join Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.

The Spaniard has now joined a selection of players who have been courted by Manchester United - but for one reason or another - didn't join the biggest club in England.

Here we take a look at the top five players who nearly joined Manchester United:

Alan Shearer

Probably the best English striker of the last 20 years, Shearer was top of Sir Alex Ferguson's wishlist in 1996 but he chose Newcastle ahead of the Red Devils. 

We will never know what might have been with Shearer eventually making 303 appearances for the Geordies, scoring an incredible 148 times. 

Despite a wealth of striking talent that has seemingly been available to Manchester United at all times you can't help but wonder what might have been.

Paul Gascoigne

If media reports are to be believed Manchester United tried to sign the mercurial English midfielder several times during his career, but were never closer than when Gazza moved from England to Italy to play for Lazio in 1995. 

Gazza had an excellent career after leaving Tottenham and played 204 more times, contributing 37 goals and bags of assists, but never really reached the pinnacle of the sport as he perhaps should have done. 

Sir Alex Ferguson could have been the guiding influence the troubled midfielder needed in his career/life? 

Imagine a midfield which contained Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Gazza; a frightening thought!

Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho is still terrorising defences, albeit back in Brazil for Atletico Mineiro at the ripe old age of 33. 

Ronaldinho was considered the best player in the world while at his peak, so it's no surprise that United tried to sign the fleet-footed mercurial Brazilian. 

The first time was before Ronaldinho made the switch from French club PSG to Spanish super club Barcelona, for whom he played 145 times, scoring 70 goals on his way to super stardom. 

Paulo Di Canio

When he wasn't pushing referees over or making Nazi salutes Paulo Di Canio was one of the most exciting and skilful players ever to have played in the Premier League scoring some truly wonderful goals for West Ham. 

He made 118 appearances for the Hammers scoring 48 goals. The Daily Mail recently carried a story from the man himself who claimed that Ferguson had twice spoken to him about a move to United and twice he had turned him down, although he admitted the first time he received the call he had assumed it was a friend pranking him! 

The second time came after the 2008 Champions League final, but again Di Canio politely declined.

Kaka

Another player who could have moved to United on more than one occasions is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, or Kaka to you and I. 

Rumours that United were first interested in Kaka first surfaced when he moved from AC Milan to Real Madrid in 2009 and never really went away. 

Last week The Sun carried the story that Jose Mourinho had actually blocked Kaka from leaving Real Madrid in 2013, with United lurking, looking to bring the brilliant Brazilian to Old Trafford. 

Despite having dropped down the pecking order at the Bernabeu, Mourinho is quoted as having said he would have let him go, but not to one of Europe's elite clubs. 

 

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Topics:
Premier League
Manchester United
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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