Friday, September 29, 2023

I was so angry Man United wouldn’t grant Liverpool transfer that I got lawyers involved

There’s an unwritten rule when it comes to playing for Manchester United – do not join Liverpool.

But Gabriel Heinze clearly didn’t get that message in 2007, as he looked to force through a move to the Red Devils‘ arch-rivals.

Argentine icon Heinze was keen to swap United for Liverpool in 2007Getty Images – Getty

GettyBut Sir Alex Ferguson refused to do business with the Red Devils’ rivals[/caption]

The defender was bidding to become the first player since Phil Chisnall’s £25,000 switch to Anfield in 1964 to directly transfer between the two clubs.

However, he didn’t account for Sir Alex Ferguson to step in and block the deal – leading the player to hire a Liverpool-based legal firm.

Heinze’s agent, Roberto Rodriguez, is alleged to have been told by United’s then-chief executive David Gill that the left-back could leave for £6.8million.

But United failed to envisage that offer would come from up the M62 where manager Rafa Benitez attempted to bring the Argentina international to Anfield.

A £6.8m offer was lodged, but to Heinze’s anger and dismay, United knocked back their proposal, with Ferguson adamant a transfer to Merseyside was out of the question.

Speaking at the time, Ferguson said: “I can assure you, Liverpool will not be getting Gabriel Heinze. We can put that to bed right now and we have done so.

“We have had a couple of offers for him and we have turned them down. Heinze’s agents are rolling the ball all the time.

“But no matter what his agent thinks, we are in the driving seat. I don’t know exactly what Gaby thinks because it’s all coming from his agent, but this has been going on for a year and a half now.”

GettyHeinze spent three years at Old Trafford from 2004-2007[/caption]

His proposed move to Liverpool nearly caused a legal battlegetty images

He also remarked: “We’re aware that he’s taking legal advice, but that’s good. I just hope it’s good advice because we are very confident.

“I’m aware that it has been suggested that he’s using Liverpool’s solicitors, but that doesn’t worry me. He has either got a case or he hasn’t.”

Benitez, who was left baffled by United’s refusal to sell Heinze to the Reds, stated: “It’s clear he’s a player we like and he’s a very good player.

“That’s the reason why they don’t want him to leave for us. We made an offer which they rejected. The lawyers are now working on it and so we have to wait.”

It then came to light that Crystal Palace were offered the chance to buy Heinze, and then immediately offload him to Liverpool, where they would earn £1m in compensation for their troubles.

talkSPORT host and ex-Eagles chairman Simon Jordan revealed in his diary Be Careful What You Wish For that Phil Alexander, the club’s CEO, received an approach from someone called James Green, who claimed to represent a South American agency called Soccer SA.

He wrote: “The gist of the conversation was that this agent wanted Crystal Palace to buy Gabriel Heinze from Manchester United and then immediately sell him on to Liverpool.”

Jordan added: “My stance was no way were we getting involved and I told Alexander to contact David Gill, Manchester United’s chief executive, and tell him of these attempted shenanigans, which he duly did.

News Group Newspapers LtdFerguson maintained from the start that Liverpool wouldn’t be signing the 2004 Olympic gold medallist[/caption]

Heinze scored four goals in 83 games in all competitions for Unitedgetty

“Of course, I took the opportunity to get Phil to advise Gill we would like them to remember the favour.

“The upshot was that there was an ongoing Premier League dispute between Heinze and United and we were required to give evidence and this strange and murky set of affairs was resolved by others.”

The evidence from the meeting was later used in the hearing, which United won.

After losing in his quest to join the Anfield outfit, Heinze told the Daily Mail: “My fight is for the freedom to negotiate with any club.

“United never wanted me to leave for one of the big clubs, but this anti-Liverpool clause is incredible.”

Liverpool were expecting Heinze to appeal the decision, but it never happened as United accepted an offer from Real Madrid.

Realising that his preferred transfer was over, he linked up with Los Blancos, where he helped the Spanish win the LaLiga title in his opening season.

Heinze, who won the Premier League in 2007, later spoke of his regret at trying to force a move to United’s rivals, stressing he hopes the fans still hold him in a positive manner given his performances in their shirt.

Heinze eventually made the move to Spanish side Real Madrid in 2007Getty

The answer was clear when Heinze returned to Old Trafford with Marseille in the Champions League in 2011.

Chants of ‘you Scouse b******’ bellowed around the Theatre of Dreams, showing the United faithful had neither forgiven, nor forget his actions.

It’s been 16 years since the transfer saga, and no player from either side has dared to cross the divide.

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