football

Sadio Mane's Man Utd offer and secret Thiago plea


Liverpool have gradually assembled a squad which is the envy of clubs around the world – but things could have been different.

As is always the case with big signings, other big clubs have been sniffing around in the transfer market in competition with Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Over the years, Liverpool and Manchester United have regularly gone head to head in the transfer market for players.

And several of the key members of Jurgen Klopp’s current squad could have ended up at Old Trafford.

The two sides are currently battling for the Premier League title – and we’ve taken a look at a number of stars who could have found themselves on the opposite side.



Sadio Mane had an offer from Man Utd before instead joining Liverpool
Sadio Mane had an offer from Man Utd before instead joining Liverpool

Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane has become a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool attack – but things could have been very different.

The Senegalese striker received an offer from Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United back in 2016 and was initially leaning towards the move.

“We were thinking most about Manchester United,” Mane told The Times last year.

In another interview, Mane explained how Klopp’s intervention saw him instead head to Anfield in a £34million move.

“Yes, I was really, really close because I even met up with them. So I was coming, I was there and I spoke with the boss who was there before (Van Gaal).

“They made an offer, but in the same week, Klopp called me. He said: ‘I think it’s the right club. The right coach for me, and I think it’s better that I go to Liverpool’.

“For me I think it was the right time as well. I said:, ‘I am going to Liverpool’.”

Thiago Alcantara

Thiago Alcantara has added Liverpool to the latest chapter of his decorated career.

Snapped up in the summer, the Spanish midfielder arrives after memorable spells with Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Thiago was heavily linked with a move to United during the summer of 2013 under David Moyes and David de Gea played his part.

After he scored a hat-trick for Spain in the European Under-21 Championship final, the United stopper wrote a secret plea on the match-ball – ‘Nos Vemos en Manchester’: ‘See you in Manchester’.



David de Gea wrote a secret message to Thiago Alcantara on a match ball to try and tempt him to Man Utd
David de Gea wrote a secret message to Thiago Alcantara on a match ball to try and tempt him to Man Utd

Thiago later played down the chances of joining United, and now cuts his teeth in the Premier League with their arch rivals instead.

“There was never any firm proposal,” Thiago later told the Daily Mail. “David de Gea wanted me to join. He wrote a message on my match ball after we’d beaten Italy in the final.

“But I’d have done the same with him. He is one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world. You always want to play with the best. But it was always going to be Munich.”

Virgil van Dijk

Like Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk caught the eye of top clubs with his performances for Southampton.

Back in 2017, it was claimed that Jose Mourinho had three names on his centre-back shortlist at Old Trafford.

Van Dijk was joined by Michael Keane and Victor Lindelof, the latter of whom eventually joined from Benfica.



Man Utd eventually signed Victor Lindelof and later Harry Maguire after Liverpool bagged Virgil van Dijk
Man Utd eventually signed Victor Lindelof and later Harry Maguire after Liverpool bagged Virgil van Dijk

Six months later, Liverpool splashed the cash to land Van Dijk and transform their fortunes in a high-risk move that paid off in a big way.

Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen claimed United were interested in the Dutchman but were unwilling to pull the trigger leaving Liverpool to pounce.

“To be fairly honest, I also do know in the time before, when Van Dijk was still at Southampton, there were questions of Manchester United bringing Van Dijk in,” Meulensteen told Stadium Astro in July 2020.

“They never really took the punt, but Liverpool did because they could see the potential that he had but also the speed Van Dijk had, the strength and everything.”

Jordan Henderson

It was back in the days of Sir Alex Ferguson that a young Jordan Henderson started to catch the eye for Sunderland.

He was recommended to Ferguson by his former player, Steve Bruce, who was manager of the Black Cats at the time.

Medical concerns abandoned the move, and he instead joined Liverpool where he has gone on to lead the club to Champions League and Premier League triumphs.

Speaking about Henderson last weak on A Team Talk With Legends panel in aid of Sports United Against Dementia and the League Managers Association’s charity In The Game.



Sir Alex Ferguson turned down the chance to sign Jordan Henderson at Man Utd due to medical concerns
Sir Alex Ferguson turned down the chance to sign Jordan Henderson at Man Utd due to medical concerns

“We were ready to make a bid for Jordan Henderson at Sunderland. I spoke to Steve Bruce and he loved the guy,” Ferguson said.

“And then our medical department said they were not happy with his running style – he could be the type to have injuries.

“If you sign a player and he is not available for you, it is a waste of time so that is the point I have to make about Jordan,” he continued.

“We loved him as a player and he has proved that now, he has been fantastic and all the stories I am being told, it tells me I missed out on a really good person.”

Which player should Man Utd regret missing out on most? Have your say here.

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