Sir Alex and Man Utd did all they could to lure Steven Gerrard to Old Trafford
Sir Alex Ferguson did all he could to lure Steven Gerrard to Old Trafford, even getting his Manchester United players to convince him while on England duty.
The legendary manager, who turned 80 on New Year's Eve, can look back on his career as arguably the most successful in football history.
Of course, there were also many failures throughout his lengthy reign as a Premier League boss, both on and off the pitch.
One of Sir Alex's most difficult tasks that didn't end in victory was pursuing former Liverpool captain Gerrard, who he saw as the perfect leader for his United side in the 2000s.
He was looking to replace Roy Keane in '03, and the then 23-year-old Gerrard was 10 years younger than the Irishman.
Ferguson was familiar with the iconic midfielder as he had been involved in two trial matches for the Red Devils as a youth player.
At that time Gerrard was offered a three-year contract by the club, as per The Athletic, which he turned down.
Once he had gone on to establish himself for the Reds, Fergie tried again, but to no avail.
Was Gerrard silly or smart to ignore Sir Alex? Let us know in the comments section.
Gerrard recalled in his autobiography how Gary Neville would put a word in for his manager.
He wrote: “My agent, Struan Marshall, told me that, under Fergie, United had a decent pop at trying to sign me. Gary Neville would knock at my door during England camps.
“He’d come in for a chat and let me know how much United would love me to play for them. Gary told me Fergie had sent him.”
Gerrard's repeated refusal led Fergie to bemoan: “I don’t really want to discuss Gerrard. We just can’t get Gerrard, the boy won’t come here.”
The Scot later went on to say Stevie G wasn't a "top, top player" in his own autobiography.
In response Gerrard said: “In 2004, Ferguson had called me ‘the most influential player in England, bar none’ and suggested that ‘anyone would love to have Gerrard in their team’.
“So I was a little hurt and surprised when 13 years later, Ferguson used his autobiography to insist he was one of the few who never thought I was ‘a top, top player’.
“I wouldn’t lose any sleep but I was slightly taken aback after all his praise."
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