Former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson turned down the chance to sign Zinedine Zidane.
Former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson turned down the chance to bring Zinedine Zidane to Old Trafford before his first big move to Juventus.
Edwards told the club's website that Ferguson turned down the future three-time World Player of the Year award winner to avoid affecting Eric Cantona, who was returning to the club following his lengthy ban for his infamous 'kung-fu kick' incident.
"When Zidane was at Bordeaux," Edwards explained, "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 [when Cantona was banned for eight months after clashing with a football fan at Selhurst Park in 1995], he felt that, if he had brought Zidane in, it may have affected Eric's position, so he stuck with Eric."
Edwards also revealed the chain of events that led to United missing out on Liverpool legend John Barnes when he left Watford for Anfield in 1987, turning down the chance to sign the England star in order to give Jesper Olsen an opportunity in the team.
He explained: "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."