Revealed: The Main Reason Manchester United Did Not Sign Zinedine Zidane
Manchester United may be eyeing up Zinedine Zidane as a manager in 2019 but Sir Alex Ferguson came so close to bringing one of the best midfielders ever to Old Trafford in the late 90’s. Unfortunately for United fans they never got to see Zizou grace the turf at the Theatre of Dreams in a red shirt, but maybe in the near future they could see him prowl up and down the touchline.
In 1996 France played the Czech Republic in Manchester as part of the European Championships and Zidane caught Fergie’s eye running the show as part of a talented French midfield that would go on to win the World Cup in 1998. He was being chased by Europe’s top clubs at the time but opted to join European Champions Juventus after some careful deliberation over his next move.
The MEN reported that Ferguson was flirting with the idea of bringing him to the club but was worried how the signing of a second French ‘forward’ would affect star man Eric Cantona. At the time Zidane was playing in a more advanced role rather than the dominant and classy central midfielder he became, and Fergie did not want to risk rocking the boat of what was becoming an extremely successful side.
It’s fair to say both parties did well without each other, with Ferguson and United winning a whole heap of Premier League titles as well as the Champions League in 1999, whilst Zidane went on to become one of the all-time greats at Juventus and then Real Madrid.
Just before his move to Los Blancos the player himself spoke out about the Manchester United rumours: "I never say never but at the moment my thinking is that a move to England would not be right. I feel like I want to get to see the Spanish League, so if there's the possibility of going there I would choose it over England.
"As for the interest from Man United, they are without doubt one of the biggest clubs in Europe. But my interest in Spain is very strong.
"I was quite interested (in joining United in 1996). Now it's quite different. Even if Manchester United are interested, Juventus don't want to let me go. And personally, I feel now that if I leave Italy my main ambition will be to play in Spain, rather than in England."
What could have been for United fans. Perhaps they will get Zidane to Old Trafford as a manager instead of a player.