Pre season is met with excitement, frustration and sometimes, despair. But for every transfer that goes through, there are 100's that don't.
Here, I am looking at just five transfers that very nearly happened but didn't.
5 - Matt Le Tissier to Spurs
Le Tissier is a player who had the ability to be sublime. Saints fans know all too well that Le Tissier could turn a game on it's head – when he could be bothered. The Southampton legend was criticised throughout his career for appearing lazy and out of shape. But make no mistake about it, this boy could play. His talents far surpassed what the Saints could have imagined when they signed him from Vale Recreation in Guernsey. It seemed only a matter of time before a bigger club would swoop and take the gifted play maker away onto bigger and better things.
Spurs were one of many suitors of his mercurial skills. During his career, Le Tissier actually signed for the White Heart Lane club in a solicitors office without Southampton knowing anything about it. The idea was that this contract would be brought out at the end of the season after the two clubs had agreed a fee. However, his soon to be wife's reluctance to move to London caused a re-think and after much deliberation he decided to stay with the Saints.
4 - Steven Gerrard to Chelsea
Steven Gerrard, the home-town hero, so nearly joined Jose Mourinho's Chelsea revolution in 2005. After winning the Champions League with the Reds in spectacular fashion against Milan, everything looked rosey under new manager Rafa Benitez. But during the summer, Gerrard stunned Merseyside by announcing he wanted out. Reds fans could not believe these turn of events having watched their hero lift the most coveted trophy in club football just months earlier. Despite this shocking revelation, Gerrard still seemed to have the Liverpool fans support as he fought for a better contract. Although the news came out of the blue, it was the result of months of frustration for Gerrard who was waiting on a new contract offer from his employers. Sensing that allowing Gerrard to move to Chelsea would be unforgivable, the Liverpool board caved in and met Gerrard's demands to make him the highest paid Liverpool player.
Chelsea went on to dominate the domestic game while Gerrard has only the F.A Cup, won in 2006 and the League cup, won last season, to show for his efforts since his decision to stay. Gerrard, whose career promised and is deserving of much more silverware, has had to settle for being worshipped by Reds fans rather than looking at his trophy cabinet.
3 - Roy Keane to Blackburn
The Manchester United legend agreed to join Kenny Dalglish at Blackburn from Nottingham forest. Keane's combative midfield displays made him one of the most promising players around during the early 90's. The Republic of Ireland star agreed terms with Rovers, the transfer fee of £4 million pounds was to be a new British record. This deal was agreed on a Friday but when Dalglish rang Ewood park, he found the office staff had left for the weekend. Shaking hands with Keane, it was decided that he would sign for Rovers on Monday. On Sunday, Sir Alex Ferguson called up Keane and asked him to come to see him. Ferguson told Keane “Manchester United are going to dominate the domestic game with or without you. With you, we can win in Europe.” Keane subsequently backed out of his deal with Blackburn to sign for the Red Devils and went on be become one of their best midfielders ever.
2 - Eric Cantona to Sheffield Wednesday
King Eric had a one week trial with the Owls before anyone had heard of the Frenchman on these shores. Trevor Francis, the Owls manager at the time, was not impressed enough to offer him a deal. Instead he wanted to extend the trial but Cantona lost patience and left. Cantona was under the impression Francis wanted to sign him when he arrived in Sheffield but still stuck out the one week trial on offer. During his trial Cantona played in a friendly, hitting a hat rick but was annoyed when Francis asked to extend his trial rather than offer him a contract. Cantona then moved to Elland road and joined Leeds United. The Frenchman went on to become a cult figure at Leeds, cultivating in helping them to the league title in 1992. Despite scoring only three goals for Leeds, Fergie saw enough to part with £1.2 million pounds to bring Cantona to Old Trafford. The rest as they say is history.
1 – Jean Marc Bosman to Dunkerque
A little known Belgian football player is responsible for changing football forever. In 1990 Jean Marc Bosman's contract with his club R.F.C Leige had expired. A little known French team, Dunkerque wanted to take the player to France but R.F.C Leige demanded a transfer fee for the player. Dunkerque refused to meet their demand and moved on. Meanwhile Bosman saw his wages reduced as he was no longer officially contracted to R.F.C. The player saw this as a complete injustice and set about to challenge football at it's highest level.
What followed was years of courtrooms and tribulations for Bosman, who was now fighting on behalf of every footballer in Europe. He took his case to the European Court of Justice in Luxenbourg and sued for restraint of trading, citing FIFA rules regarding football. In 1995 he won his case and as a result the 'Bosman Ruling' came into effect, where players could leave their clubs for nothing once their contracts expired. Dutchman Edgar Davids was the first high profile player to take advantage of this new ruling when he left Ajax to join A.C Milan in 1996.
This previously unknown player has changed football and given players the ultimate power when re negotiating their contracts. Clubs often give in to the players' demands, knowing they risk losing the player for nothing if he doesn't sign a new contract.
Had R.F.C Leige allowed Bosman to leave, this ruling would never have come into effect.
The biggest injustice is that Jean Marc Bosman was reported to be penniless and living on benefits , just outside Leige, after fighting depression.