Oh, what could have been…
There’s always that player your club missed out on before they became a huge star.
Arsenal lost out on Cristiano Ronaldo , Man Utd were beaten to Ronaldinho, and then there was the time Rivaldo ‘almost’ joined Tottenham .
And Newcastle fans will have their heads in their hands knowing they could have once signed the great Xabi Alonso , BEFORE he moved to Liverpool .
The Toon’s former chief scout Charlie Woods revealed to ChronicleLive that he once returned from a scouting trip to Spain with a glowing report on the midfielder.
Woods said: “I had been to San Sebastian to watch Real Sociedad against Barcelona and I saw this boy a couple of times.
“Ronnie Rosenthal was the agent and he took me out to see the game. Not to see Xabi Alonso in particular; he just wanted me to come out and see Real Sociedad.
“I sat with the sporting director of Real Sociedad that night and I said, ‘Look, I’ll be back in touch’. I went back to Bobby and said, ‘What a player this lad is.’ We could have got him for a decent fee but we didn’t act on it.
“For some reason, they didn’t go through with it. He then goes and signs for Liverpool.”
A then 22-year-old Alonso signed for Liverpool in 2004 for a fairly modest sum of £10.5 million.
He went on to become a club legend, taking part in the infamous Champions League Final win in Istanbul, 2005.
Alonso stayed with the Reds for five years before moving on to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich – adding four league titles and another European Cup to his achievements, as well as a World Cup with Spain.
And Woods admitted that what put the Toon off may have just been his nationality, as Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd might not have been keen on another ‘foreign player’.
Former scout, Woods added: “He then goes and signs for Liverpool. Whether it was the chairman, Freddy Shepherd, didn’t like the idea of another foreigner, I don’t know.
“We didn’t sign him. What a miss that was.”