Top 5 Players Who Almost Joined Man Utd

Manchester United has housed some of the world’s best players. The Old Trafford faithful have been spoiled with superstars in front of their eyes, from George Best to Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Because they are one of the most influential clubs in the world and have a long history of success, they have been linked with several world-class players, only for potential deals to fall through for a variety of reasons.

Football Transfers examines eight players who could have signed for Manchester United.

Numner 5: Zinedine Zidane

When Zinedine Zidane was still playing in French Ligue 1 with Bordeaux, United had an interest in him before he moved to Juventus. The issue is that the Old Trafford club already had a mercurial French talent at the time. Eric Cantona was synonymous with Manchester United in the mid-1990s and was a key component of Ferguson’s first hugely successful United team.

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane

First-team coach Eric Harrison and chief scout Les Kershaw had high praise for the future World Cup winner and Real Madrid superstar, and even Cantona thought the club should sign Zidane. Still, Ferguson remained loyal to Cantona, believing that the two players were too similar in terms of style and position to fit into the same squad.

Zidane to Old Trafford could still happen, with Zizou among the leading candidates listed as potential replacements for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when his time at United ends.

Number 4: Ronaldo

Ronaldo was another player who scored spectacularly for the opposition in the Champions League at Old Trafford. His hat-trick for Real Madrid in April 2003, culminating in a spectacular 25-yarder past Fabien Barthez, effectively ended Manchester United’s Champions League charge that season, with United winning 4-3 on the night but falling out of the competition 6-5 on aggregate.


The Brazilian’s performance at Old Trafford that night was so captivating that even the home fans applauded as his third goal went in, realizing they were witnessing a true football great in action.

Only seven years ago, United was offered the chance to sign Ronaldo, with PSV Eindhoven demanding £20 million (a large sum of money at the time) for their prize asset.

Barcelona was willing to pay the transfer fee, and the decision was vindicated when Ronaldo scored 47 goals in his first season at the Nou Camp, and he went on to become one of the greatest players of all time.

Number 3: Ronaldinho

International teammate of Ronaldo Ronaldinho was linked with a move to Old Trafford several times during his time at Paris Saint-Germain, who were not the massively wealthy club that they are now. There was a bit of a changing of the guard at Old Trafford in the summer of 2003. David Beckham’s two goals from the bench in the same game that Ronaldo scored a hat-trick were enough to persuade the Real Madrid hierarchy to pay a high price for the future England captain.


Ronaldinho was linked with a move to Manchester United that summer, but in the end, Barcelona pipped United to the signing of the mercurial Brazilian.

A €30 million move to Camp Nou was the catalyst for the Catalan giants’ unprecedented run of success, with Ronaldinho shining brightly in their first Champions League-winning squad.

But all was not lost for United, as they signed Ronaldo – the precociously talented young teenager from Sporting Lisbon – that summer. That was another story that would end in plenty of glories, including a Champions League winner’s medal.

Number 2:Toni Kroos

David Moyes had made Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos a top summer transfer target. According to the player, a deal to join Man United had been nearly completed, only to be derailed by Moyes’ sacking. After that, Louis van Gaal was appointed, and the Dutchman did not want to sign Kroos, who would go on to win the World Cup that summer.

Toni Kroos
Toni Kroos

“David Moyes had come to see me, and the contract was done,” Kroos explained to The Athletic.

“However, Moyes was fired, and Louis van Gaal was brought in, which complicated matters.”

“Louis desired time to work on his project.” After not hearing from United, I began to have reservations.

“Then came the World Cup, and Carlo Ancelotti [Real Madrid coach] called.” That was the end of it.”

Kroos went on to win a slew of trophies with Real Madrid, including three Champions League crowns.

Number 1: Paulo Dybala

Manchester United and Juventus began talks in the final days of the 2019 summer transfer window about the possible transfer of Paulo Dybala. At the time, reports suggested that Romelu Lukaku might have been involved in the deal as part of a swap, but no deal for Dybala or the Belgian materialized.

Paulo Dybala
Paulo Dybala

Lukaku would eventually join Inter in Italy, but Dybala remained, forcing Manchester United to look elsewhere. Man United’s approach has been confirmed by Dybala, who told CNN:

“It was last year at this point [in 2019] when Juventus didn’t want to rely on me, didn’t want me to stay here.”

“That’s when I was contacted, and some clubs were interested in me.” Manchester United and Tottenham were two of them. I believe there were discussions for a long time before Paris Saint-Germain appeared.

“I didn’t speak to any of them directly, but there were conversations with the clubs.” My intention at the time, however, was to stay.”

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