It’s like Jon Obi Mikel all over again. It seems Chelsea have belittled Manchester United by hijacking their move for Barcelona’s Pedro, leaving Ed Woodward’s reputation as a bumbling, ineffective deal maker in rude health.
Is this a sign of the times? A player saying no to an Old Trafford move is unthinkable to some, but with vast amount of reports saying that the Spanish international is en route to west London, it seems Pedro has done just that.
This may be a rare occurrence but it has happened before. Here are the men who said no to the Red Devils.
It’s no secret that Sir Alex Ferguson was a fan of Alan Shearer’s talents, who wasn’t? The Premier League’s leading marksman of all-time didn’t just ignore the advances of United on one occasion, he did it twice.
The first offer came when Big Al was a teenager at Southampton. He was rattling in goals and it seemed only a matter of time before he moved on. Manchester looked set to be his destination but negotiations rumbled on (remind you of another situation?) and Blackburn nipped in and took Shearer to Lancashire.
In 1996 after a fabulous Euros, the England striker opted to up sticks and leave Ewood Park. Both Manchester United and his hometown club, Newcastle, agreed a £15m fee for the centre forward. The Geordie was all set to sign for Fergie until Kevin Keegan pulled on his heartstrings at the last minute and brought him home.
If United had signed Shearer, they wouldn’t have got the much cheaper Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, and we all know how that ended up. A fact the Stretford End faithful like to sing about on a regular basis.
It was a dream come true for the teenage United fan, he was on his way to Old Trafford to play for the team he’d supported for all his short life, or so it seemed.
Even the club themselves announced that they were set to sign the Welsh youngster, who had his pick of pretty much every team in England, such were his talents. Cardiff boss Dave Jones advised Ramsey to move to Manchester, as did his idol Ryan Giggs.
In a shock u-turn then player opted to head to the Emirates. Ramsey wasn’t happy with the Red Devils’ arrogance over announcing the deal and he moved to the Gunners to take selfies and get a six pack, ultimately irritating Reds legend Roy Keane.
Quite possibly England’s most talented player ever, it is scary thinking about how much Gazza could have achieved had he took up Fergie’s offer and signed up at Old Trafford.
It was 1988 and England’s cheeky chappie was the most in-demand young footballer on the planet. He was believed to be waiting for an offer from Liverpool, but without that forthcoming he decided to accept a move to Manchester United. Ferguson was delighted, he set off on holiday expecting to have a new midfielder in his squad when he returned.
It turned out that Spurs jumped in on the deal, offering to buy Gascoigne’s parents a house and his sister a sunbed. It was a simple choice for Gazza, he moved to White Hart Lane for £2.2m and Sir Alex was left reeling.
The Dutch number nine was a wanted man in the summer of 1998 after scoring in both the quarter-finals and semis of the World Cup in France. Sir Alex Ferguson was keen to get a run on potential suitors and moved quickly to sure-up his interest in Kluivert.
All was going well at first but then he encountered a wall of silence. The Dutchman was no longer interested in the advances of the Red Devils and made that perfectly clear, refusing to talk to the north-west outfit and negotiating a last minute deal to Barcelona. There he joined the current incumbent of the managerial hot-seat at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal.
Nevertheless, United had the last laugh as they dumped Barca out of the Champions League on their way to winning an unprecedented treble, lifting Old Big Ears in the Camp Nou. Smugness at its finest for Fergie.
It’s hard to imagine this happening but Liverpool God Steven Gerrard could well have played with the Devil on his chest. United tried to sign him as a kid but the bigger news was in 2002/03 when the dynamic midfielder was the subject of interest from Sir Alex.
Obviously the notion was flatly turned down by Gerrard and Liverpool as the Reds captain stayed put and went on to write his name in folklore at Anfield.
Fergie went on to say that Gerrard was not a “top, top player” in his autobiography, whether that was a case of sour grapes or just another dig at Liverpool is unclear.
Barcelona seem to feature a lot in spoiling United’s transfer fun and that was the case in 2003 when the Red Devils were on the lookout for a star to replace the Real Madrid-bound David Beckham. Amazingly, despite a fantastic World Cup showing in 2002, Ronaldinho still found himself at PSG that summer and the race for his signature was on.
Ferguson looked to have won that race. Personal terms were agreed and it seemed that the Brazilian maestro was all set to be handed the number seven shirt vacated by Becks.
However, United’s deal makers dallied over a transfer fee and, reeling from missing out on Beckham, Barca swooped in and convinced Ronaldinho to head to Cataluna. It was a disaster for the club and they ended up handing the infamous shirt to an unknown quantity from Sporting Lisbon named Cristiano Ronaldo.