Imagine not rating a player, passing on signing him, only to see him go on and become a world beater.
Well it happens, just ask Sir Alex Ferguson. As we will detail later in this piece, he famously chose not to sign arguably the greatest player of his generation.
Here is a look at the top five deals of recent times that should have been, which will rank arguably among the greatest managerial blunders of all time.
1) Martin O'Neill decides not to sign Falcao for Aston Villa; sticks with Emile Heskey instead
Back in 2009, Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill made a decision which its safe to say did not go to plan. As this report shows, agents on behalf of the player offered Falcao, then of River Plate, to Villa for £9 million. The report claims O'Neill was 'pondering the offer' but never went ahead with the deal. He had signed Emile Heskey just six months earlier and clearly decided his strike force was up to scratch. Now Falcao is arguably the best natural striker in world football, playing for Atletico Madrid and could be about to sign for Chelsea for £50 million.
2) Kenny Dalglish skips on signing Mario Gotze for Liverpool, as Jordan Henderson was a priority
Times journalist Rory Smith reported that Dalglish and Damien Comolli were asked by agents whether they wanted to make a move for German starlet Mario Gotze. The blundering pair 'discarded his name' from the running, as Jordan Henderson was a £20 million priority, which they then compounded by adding Charlie Adam to the mix. Henderson has failed to live anywhere up to his price tag, while Gotze is impressing for Dortmund in the Champions League and is now rated at £30 million plus.
3) Arsene Wenger misses out on Zlatan, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Yaya Toure
Arsene Wenger has had mixed record in the transfer market through the years, but imagine his team had he added these three superstars to Arsenal. He almost did. Yaya Toure was a trialist at the club and even played in a friendly in an Arsenal shirt against Barnet, but Wenger did not rate him and allowed him to be snapped up elsewhere. Cristiano Ronaldo was also invited for a trial and spent time at the Gunners training ground, but Arsenal failed to persuade him to sign, and he went to Manchester United instead. The Gunners did at least beat United to the signing of Aaron Ramsey. And finally Zlatan Ibrahimovich was famously invited for a trial, only to reject the offer saying 'Zlatan does not do trials'. He said he did not feel Arsenal were serious about signing him and has since gone onto become one of the world's top players.
4) Manchester United decide not to sign Joe Hart for £100,000
Sir Alex Ferguson revealed earlier this year he could have signed Joe Hart earlier for just £100,000 when he was with Shrewsbury Town, and certainly regrets missing out on England's number one goalkeeper. "We all make mistakes" - Ferguson said. Hart went onto join Manchester City in 2006 and hasn't looked back since. Ferguson meanwhile still cannot choose between £20 million David de Gea, and Danish international Anders Lindegaard.
5) Sir Alex Ferguson turns down chance to sign Zinedine Zidane, and Kenny Dalglish misses out too
Eric Cantona revealed that he personally recommended Zinedine Zidane to Sir Alex Ferguson back in 1993, only to see the manager ignore his wise words. The Frenchman said: "Yes he was in Bordeaux, he was young, he was free and I recommended him of course. It was a mistake I think. They took some great player instead of him – but I think it was a mistake.” Just a bit, Zidane would go onto haunt Ferguson in the Champions League with Juventus and Real Madrid, as well as winning the Ballon d'Or. Fergie can at least console himself he wasn't the only one. Back in the mid-nineties Kenny Dalglish had agreed a fee to bring Zidane to Blackburn, only for the club to refuse to release the funds. Chairman Jack Walker would utter the immortal words: "Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?”
Which was the biggest blunder? Which other near-misses should be added to the list?
image: © chelsea_nj