Manchester United missed out on Shearer despite record bid

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Ex-Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has revealed how close Manchester United came to signing Premier League legend Alan Shearer.

Sir Alex Ferguson was told that £25m was the price for Shearer, even though Blackburn and Shearer always wanted to accept the lesser £15m bid from the Magpies.

The summer transfer tussle of 1996 pitted England's two elite teams up against one another in a battle to sign the Premier League's top striking talent.

The previous season Shearer had finished as the league's top goalscorer with 31 in 38 games despite Blackburn's seventh placed finish.

But Shepherd has revealed that he had an agreement that neither club, Newcastle or Manchester United, would bid over £10m for the forward. All that changed after Shearer's heroics at Euro 96 though, when the number nine scored five as England reached the semi-finals.

As Shepherd reveals in an interview with the Chronicle: "I had an agreement with Martin Edwards that neither club would go over £10m.

"Alan told us he'd met Man U but he wanted to "come home", as you would. Martin rang me and said, 'We're going to go over the 10'.

"I said 'Oh aye', but I already knew that it had leaked out that Shearer had met Ferguson. He [Shearer] told us we had to speak to Jack [Walker, Blackburn chairman].

"Jack said, "It's £25m to Man U but for you it's £15m! He wanted the deal done straight away and the money up front."

Shearer went on to become Newcastle's highest goalscorer in the club's history, bagging 206 times over the course of a decade.

United did alright for themselves though, winning the league the following season by seven points from - you guessed it - Newcastle United.

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