Graeme Souness turned down chance to sign Eric Cantona for Liverpool

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Former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness has revealed that he turned down the chance to sign Manchester United favourite Eric Cantona after ignoring advice from French football legend Michel Platini.

The UEFA president visited the ex-Anfield boss personally to recommend the enigmatic forward as a potential acquisition, but Souness ruled out any possibility of bringing the player to Merseyside because of his poor disciplinary record and unpredictable behaviour, citing the need to maintain dressing room harmony as the reason for not pursuing him.

Cantona had been causing problems at Auxerre and spent the next several years struggling to settle at any one club in his homeland following stints at Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier and Nimes, before finally moving to England in 1992 where he joined Leeds United.

The maverick marksman spent just one season at Elland Road, helping the Yorkshire club win the last ever Football League First Division championship prior to the inception of the Premier League before moving on again to Manchester United, after Sir Alex Ferguson snapped up his signature for around £1.2 million.

It proved to be one of the club's greatest ever signings as Cantona played a key role in the Red Devils' revival as a footballing force in the 1990s. He still enjoys an iconic status at Old Trafford and is regarded as one of the greatest ever No.7s to pull on the shirt.

'King Eric' as he was affectionately nicknamed by Manchester United supporters eventually hung up his boots in 1997 after winning four Premier League titles in the space of five years, and two FA Cup triumphs.

However, Cantona's illustrious career could've turned out very differently had Souness taken a chance on him after that meeting with Platini in November 1991.

"We played Auxerre in the UEFA Cup. After the game, Michel Platini knocks on my office door and comes in," the Scot explained in his book 'Men In White Suits' in an extract published by The Express.

"He said he had a player for me. 'A proper player'. He told me that he was a problem in France but would be perfect for Liverpool.

"The player was Eric Cantona. I said: 'Listen, I'm fighting lots of fires here at the moment; I don't need any more trouble'.

"It was another situation where I should have been more open-minded."

With a strong selection of forwards like Ian Rush, John Barnes, Dean Saunders and Ronny Rosenthal already on the books at Liverpool you can kind of understand why Souness was reluctant to offer Cantona a deal.

However, in hindsight he will definitely look back on the massive impact the Frenchman made in the Premier League and wonder what might've been.

Liverpool fans: Would you have liked to see Eric Cantona turn out at Anfield? Do you think with him in the side the Reds might've won at least one Premier League title? Have your say below...

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Premier League
Manchester United
Graeme Souness
Eric Cantona

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