Former Ireland international goalkeeper Shay Given had a brilliant career which spanned over 20 years for both club and country.
Given won 134 caps for the Boys in Green, and made over 350 appearances for Newcastle while also having spells at Manchester City, Stoke City and Aston Villa towards the end of his career.
There was a time though, when Given almost ended up joining Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool to compete with Simon Mignolet during his spell at Aston Villa.
A piece in The Athletic by James Pearce, details a number of failed Liverpool targets from previous seasons and quotes an extract from Given’s book where he details that the move collapsed for some unknown reason.
“It was all completely baffling and frustrating,” Given detailed in his autobiography Any Given Saturday. “The reasons why Villa wouldn’t let me go have never been made clear to me. I’m as in the dark about it today as I was then.
“I don’t know if it was my wages that stopped the deal or whether it was the fact Randy Lerner was American, like Liverpool’s owners. Had they had some beef in the past? I’ve no idea, you’ll have to ask them.
“What I do know is that chances to move to clubs like Liverpool do not come around every day and it remains a massive disappointment that I couldn’t go.”
Given wasn’t the only player Liverpool missed on with the likes of Gareth Bale and even John Terry mentioned, but one that will particularly sting for Reds’ fans is Cristiano Ronaldo.
Liverpool had reportedly scouted the player during his time at Sporting Lisbon with Ronaldo openly praising the club in the media before his move to Manchester United.
According to Phil Thompson, Liverpool’s then assistant, he was invited to watch Ronaldo in Lisbon and the club were quoted £4 million to sign him with a £1 million a year salary.
Thompson outlined that he would have to run it by manager Gerard Houllier and chief executive Rick Parry, but shortly after he found out that United had beaten them to his signature.
“Lo and behold, the following week I’m at Melwood when the yellow ticker on Sky Sports News says, ‘Manchester United sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting for £12.2 million.’ I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“How had the fee gone up from £4 million to £12.2 million in a few days? Gerard asked me to phone Tony to find out what had gone on. Tony told me that when he’d got off the plane on the Monday he had got a call to say he was off the deal. It was down to Stretford and Mendes instead.”
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