Not Messi, Gerrard or Henry – Ferguson reveals which player he regrets not signing for Man Utd
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that the one player he regrets not signing for Manchester United was Paul Gascoigne.
The England midfielder broke through in English football at Newcastle United, where he spent three seasons at the north east club before moving on.
Gascoigne eventually moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 1988, where he spent four years and won an FA Cup.
However, Ferguson has now admitted that he asked the Old Trafford club to sign the England international in 1997, only to find out that the player had already agreed to join Spurs.
“Gascoigne, without question,” Ferguson said in an interview with LadBible when asked which plate he wished he’d signed.
“I think he was the best English player since Bobby Charlton. I think he was a fantastic player. Unfortunately, we didn’t get him and I think, looking back now, he made a big mistake. He recognised it himself years later.
“But we had Geordies in the camp. We had Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, even Gary Pallister from Middlesbrough. We had people there who would have taken care of him, particularly Bryan Robson who is fantastic with players.”
‘I think joining Tottenham was a big mistake by Gascoigne’
Despite his success at Tottenham, Ferguson clearly believes the player would have been even better at Man Utd, where he could have thrived in a better environment.
The former Man Utd manager added: “Instead, he goes to an island in London, and you’re easily swallowed up there as a young lad. I think that was a big mistake by him.
“He was a marvellous player. I loved his strength. We played Newcastle up there and he had just come back from injury.
“As soon as he came back, they started winning games. I played three in the middle of the pitch – Whiteside, Robson and Remi Moses and he destroyed them.
“He nutmegged Moses right in front of the dugout and patted him on the head.
“He was unbelievable and I said to [former Man Utd chairman] Martin Edwards on the way home: ‘Sign this boy. Get on the phone to him on Monday.’
“And by that time, he had already done a deal with Tottenham, which was really unfortunate.
“That was a disappointment because he agreed to sign and then Tottenham changed his mind by buying his mother and father a house.”