Friday, November 10, 2017

Mysteries, Legends and Conspiracy Theories, Part Nine

1- Steven Gerrad almost joining Chelsea, 2005
It was reported that Liverpool Captain Steven Gerrard was on the verge of joining Chelsea in the Summer of 2005.
It has been rumored that he withdrew his request after being threatened by Liverpool based criminals.

Photo From: World Soccer, October 2010
(Steven Gerrard on the left)

2- Michael Sternkopf transfer to Borussia Moenchengladbach, 1995
In late season (1994/95) Bayern Munich agreed to the transfer of Michael Sternkopft to Borussia Moecnhengladbach.
It was rumored that Bayern agreed on a low fee (as a form of quid pro quo), because if Moecnhengladbach were to win the DfB Pokal, Bayern would gain a place in the following season’s UEFA Cup.
Borussia Moecnhengladbach’s win in the Final over Wolfsburg (3-0) on June 24, 1995, ensured Bayern’s participation in European Football for the following season, as the higher league placed Borussia Moecnhengladbach gained entry to the Cup Winners Cup.

Photo From: Panini, Bundeliga, 1995/96
(Michael Sternkopf at Borussia Moenchengladbach, 1995/96)

3- Diego Maradona almost being signed by Sheffield United
One of the most famous (non) transfer stories concerns Sheffield United’s attempt in 1978 to acquire a then-teenage Diego Maradona from Argentinos Juniors.
According to the story, the transfer almost happened but Sheffield United backed out in the end due to the cost and instead signed Alejandro Sabella from River Plate.
It is hard to know for certain if Argentinos Juniors were really willing to sell because Maradona was already being touted as a future legend and probably could have beem sold for more elsewhere even then.
Regardless the ‘Maradona almost joined Sheffield United’ narrative is part of Football History.

Photo From :  Onze, Issue 36, December 1978
(Diego Maradona with Argentinos Juniors)

Photo From: El Grafico 1980
(Argentineans in England, Osvaldo Ardiles (Tottenhma), Claudio Marangoni (Sunderland), Ricardo Villa (Tottenhma) and Alejandro Sabella (Leeds United))

4- Bebe transfer to Manchester United, 2010
One of the most inexplicable transfers of Alex Ferguson as Manchester United Manager is that of little-known Portuguese forward Bebe from Guimaraes in 2010.
Allegedly Sir Alex Ferguson had never even seen him play.
The rumor was that he was signed as part of a deal between the club and his super agent the Portuguese Jorge Mendes.
There were reports that Carlos Queiroz, Ferguson’s former Assistant, had recommended Bebe to Sir Alex and that was why he was signed.
In any case he never made an impression and was loaned many times.

Photo From :  Panini, Futebol 2010/11
(Bebe at Guimaraes 2010)

5- Bernard Tapie and the mysterious ‘next Maradona’
In the summer of 1991, Olympique Marseille President stated that he was going to break the world record transfer fee in the next couple of years for a player who would be the ‘next Maradona.’ (or the Maradona of the 21st Century).
It was unclear who this player was, though some suggested he may have been talking about Ghana and Anderlecht’s teenage star (16 at the time) Nii Lamptey.
Some others speculated that it was Colo Colo’s Argentinean midfielder Marcelo Barticciotto, who had just helped his team in winning the 1991 Copa Libertadores.
Still others believed it was Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Zvonimir Boban that Tapie was keen to acquire (Boban signed for AC Milan that summer).

He never had the opportunity to sign this mysterious player as he was entangled in the OM/Valenciennes scandal of 1993 in the upcoming years.

Photo From:  Onze-Mondial, Issue 33, October 1991
(Nii Lamptey at Anderlecht)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 148, May 2001
(Bernard Tapie)

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