Peter Schmeichel tried to get Brian Laudrup to Man United.
Peter Schmeichel has revealed that he tried to get Alex Ferguson to sign his international teammate Brian Laudrup for Manchester United.
Laudrup was one of the most talented players of his generation and, along with Schmeichel, was part of the unfancied Denmark team that won the European Championship in 1992.
The younger brother of the similarly-revered Michael Laudrup, Brian played for the likes of Bayern Munich and AC Milan before becoming a legendary figure at Rangers, and winding down his career with stints at Chelsea, Copenhagen and Ajax.
Being so close to Laudrup in the Denmark dressing room, Schmeichel knew all about his talents, but the goalkeeper failed to convince Ferguson to sign him for the Red Devils, as he explains in his recently-released autobiography One.
Peter Schmeichel on Brian Laudrup and Karel Poborsky.
“It was after Euro 96 that I made one of two attempts to get Fergie to sign Brian Laudrup,” Schmeichel writes.
“He would have been a fantastic Manchester United player and I think he would have loved the environment: a place that was protective but encouraged flair. Fergie bought Karel Poborsky instead.”
Czech midfielder Poborsky had been one of the great talents to emerge from the European Championship in 1996, scoring a memorable chip in a quarter-final victory over Portugal.
The long-haired winger arrived at Man United later that summer but, pitted against the emerging figure of David Beckham, found opportunities hard to come by. To his credit, he did score three goals as the club won the 1996/97 Premier League title, before leaving for Benfica in January 1998.
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Laudrup nearly signed for Man City.
Three years after leaving Old Trafford himself, Schmeichel somewhat controversially signed for United’s arch-rivals Manchester City, and it wasn’t long before he he got ‘operation sign Brian Laudrup’ up and running again.
At the time, Kevin Keegan was in charge of the Citizens and, according to Schmeichel, was more open to the idea of getting Laudrup into his team than his old managerial sparring partner Ferguson was.
“Later, at Manchester City, I persuaded Kevin Keegan to sign Brian,” Schmeichel continues. “After sustaining a foot injury, Brian had left Ajax in 2000 and retired from playing but had stayed fit, very, fit and come to the conclusion that maybe he wasn’t finished with the game after all.
“I connected him and Kevin up and they went all the way to agreeing a deal, only for Brian to back out at the last moment. Brian was just 33 and the type of player Manchester City fans would have adored.”
Laudrup was the type of flair player who Keegan would have loved and while his presence may not have guaranteed trophies at a pre-Abu Dhabi Man City, he certainly could have provided some moments of magic for their supporters.
As for Ferguson, with 13 Premier League titles in his trophy cabinet, he probably doesn’t have too many regrets about not taking Schmeichel up on his recommendation.