We’re learning a lot about the secret skullduggery of transfer market from Steven Gerrard’s new autobiography, which is being serialized in the Mail.
In a previous extract, Gerrard revealed how Brendan Rodgers would often use him as a transfer mule, and ask him to text players inviting them to sign for Liverpool.
The texting tactic was used on the likes of Toni Kroos and Willian, neither of seemed impressed at being texted by the Liverpool captain, and both of whom snubbed the invited to instead move elsewhere.
In another extract, we now learn that this tactic wasn’t exclusive to Liverpool, and that Sir Alex Ferguson used to do the same with Gary Neville.
Gerrard reveals that Neville would ask him to sign for Manchester United – an unlikely prospect if ever there was one.
Whatever about signing for Chelsea – which Gerrard was close to doing – the Liverpool skipper would have become a pariah in his hometown had he signed for United.
Gerrard of course snubbed the invitation, but intriguingly, you can detect a tinge of regret in his tone.
‘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.”
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.
“The only point that mattered was that I have real respect for Ferguson, but I wondered how many league titles he thought Scholes or Keane might have won if they had played for Liverpool.
“I would have done OK in a United team playing alongside Keane in midfield with David Beckham on the right, Ryan Giggs on the left and Ruud van Nistelrooy up front. I would have managed pretty well in that side.”