Schmeichel & Cantona

Schmeichel & Cantona: Why Liverpool rejected the Man United legends

Graeme Souness on Liverpool

Most weekends in the Sunday Times, Graeme Souness pens a column in the broadsheet.

This weekend has seen Souness open up about how he botched two massive deals during his time as Liverpool’s manager.

Souness got the Liverpool job in 1991 replacing Kenny Dalglish, and he stayed at Anfield until 1994.

During his playing days with the Reds, Souness was incredibly successful. He won the league title five times, plus three European Cups as Liverpool dominated the late 70s and early 80s.

But, in the Liverpool dugout things were far tougher. Souness’ sole trophy a Liverpool managed was the FA Cup.

Peter Schmeichel & Eric Cantona

Liverpool were eventually usurped as English football’s leading team in the 80s as Man United once again returned to the fore.

And on Sunday, Souness has told the stories of how he rejected the chance to sign Man United legends Peter Schmeichel and Eric Cantona during his reign at Anfield.

On Schmeichel, the surly Scot revealed the Danish goalie grew up as a Liverpool fan who was “willing to pay his own travel and hotel in exchange for some time with us.”

So why didn’t Liverpool pull the trigger? Souness explained:

I was trying to ease out Bruce Grobbelaar and that was proving a hassle, plus I had just signed David James, so I thought I could do without a rookie keeper.

In a second transfer blunder, Souness also had the opportunity to bring Cantona to Liverpool before the French star joined Leeds United:

Eric Cantona was another I missed out on. We played Auxerre at home and Michel Platini came to see me afterwards. He said he had a player for me, a problem boy but a proper player. It was Cantona, but I said the last thing I needed was another problem player.

I had 30-pluses I was trying to get out, so I didn’t need more hassle. I said I was looking for something else and so it was no thanks.