Former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has claimed that the club missed out on signing Zinedine Zidane, as well as a handful of Premier League legends, during his tenure.
The former Real Madrid midfielder, and now Los Blancos manager, could have signed for Manchester United during his time at Bordeaux. However, Sir Alex Ferguson felt the recent re-signing of Eric Cantona would be under threat had Zidane moved to Manchester.
The Red Devils also missed the opportunity to sign the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer, players who would go on to become two of the best, in their respective positions, in English football history.
"Paul Gascoigne was certainly one [we missed out on]," Edwards told MUTV. "We thought he was coming but he decided to join Tottenham. I think there were certain last-minute inducements involved.
"I’d done the negotiations for Alan Shearer and again, I thought he was coming. But [Blackburn owner] Jack Walker was very adamant he wasn’t coming to Manchester United. It was a case of ‘over my dead body’ but he allowed him to go to Newcastle.
"Gary Lineker, as you know, was going to sign for Everton and his agent Jon Holmes rang me on the day and said: ‘We’re about to go on the train to sign for Everton but his first choice would be Manchester United, if you want him to come.’
"I put it to Ron [Atkinson] and he said: ‘I’ve got four strikers already. The last thing we need is another striker.’ So we passed on that one," Edwards confirmed.
"With John Barnes, Graham Taylor rang Alex Ferguson to see if he wanted to take him before he signed for Liverpool. Alex passed on him because it was his first season, he had Jesper Olsen in his squad and he wanted to see whether Jesper would make it.
"When Zidane was at Bordeaux, Les Kershaw, the chief scout, was telling me we should be interested in him and I mentioned it to Alex. Alex said that Eric [Cantona] had also mentioned Zidane to him but Alex felt Zidane played in the same position as Eric.
"Having gone over to France to persuade Eric to re-sign for us, after the Crystal Palace incident, he felt that, if he had brought Zidane in, it may have affected Eric’s position, so he stuck with Eric."