3 Sept 2015

Transfer Travesties: How Liverpool could've signed 'world-class' £90m superstar who wanted LFC transfer

Liverpool have missed out on some fantastic players over the years, and in this new series, I'll be looking at a selection of some of biggest transfer fails in LFC's history. First, I'll start with possibly the biggest travesty of them all: Liverpool's failure to sign Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

It's no secret that Liverpool wanted to sign 'world-class' Ronaldo (who - according to CIES - is currently worth £90m), and there's plenty of evidence to back this up:


* June 2003: After the Toulon Tournament, Ronaldo (who was 19 at the time) heard of Liverpool's interested, and publicly exhorted the club to make him an offer. He told reporters:

"Liverpool are one of the best clubs in England and it would be a dream to represent a club of such traditions. I hope they make an offer. My way of playing can be reconciled in the Premiership. If a player has quality then he can play anywhere"

* Aug 2003: The BBC reported: "Liverpool have been linked with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, who was watched by Liverpool at the Toulon tournament this summer".

* Aug 2003: Liverpool failed to follow up their interest, and Ronaldo signed for Manchester United in a £12m deal.

* Oct 2005: Liverpool legend Phil Thompson confirmed that Liverpool wanted Ronaldo before he joined Manchester United. In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, Thommo noted:

"One star who got away was Cristiano Ronaldo. I met [Ronaldo's] agent...who wanted £1m tax free per year. I said: 'The boy is only 18. That is a massive problem,'.

"I mentioned it to Gerard [Houllier]. He said: 'I will ask Rick.' We had just signed Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Anthony Le Tallec...and we would have had anarchy if the other players found out how much we were considering paying".

* Oct 2010: Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier confirmed Thompson's account, and revealed that salary issues were the main reason the Reds failed to sign Ronaldo. He recollected:

"We [Liverpool] went for him, but we had a wage scale and we weren’t paying the sort of salary he wanted. Then Manchester United played a friendly against Sporting Lisbon and all their boys said to Sir Alex Ferguson, 'You have to sign him'. But I agreed with not breaking the wage structure. I thought it would cause problems in our dressing room"

So there you have: the best player on the planet (arguably) wanted to join Liverpool, and the club could've signed him, but ultimately decided against it. The rest, as they say, is history. There's a very specific precedent set here, though, that persists to this day. The pattern is obvious:

* A player publicly expresses interest in signing for Liverpool (Ronaldo, Konoplyanka, Shaqiri etc) and/or reveals he's a Liverpool fan (Ayew, Turan, and many more)

* Liverpool are repeatedly linked with said player.

* Liverpool drag their heels, and/or try and lowball the selling club, and the player ends up signing for someone else.

Sound familiar? Meanwhile, Liverpool waste hundreds of millions on dross, which leads to an abject failure to win the league for 25 years (and counting).

The galling thing is that less than a year later, Liverpool spent £14.5m on Djibril Cisse, money which could've been used to fund Ronaldo's transfer and contract.

Verdict: Catastrophic transfer Fail.

Author: Jaimie K


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